Xenex Defends UV System And Disinfection Claims Argued By Clorox
The following statement is from Xenex Disinfection Services:
The Clorox Company has tried to limit Xenex Disinfection Services’ ability to advertise the benefits of Xenex's Germ-Zapping Robot in comparison to competing mercury bulb ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection devices. In response, Xenex filed a declaratory judgement action against Clorox. The action asks the court to declare that Xenex may state that the Xenex robot contains “no toxic mercury” and that the Xenex robot is “faster than competing mercury devices.”
Clorox and Xenex offer competing portable UV room disinfection devices used by healthcare facilities. The Clorox Healthcare Optimum-UV System uses bulbs that contain mercury to create UV light while Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots use pulsed xenon, an environmentally friendly, non-toxic inert gas, to create broad spectrum UV light.
Neither Clorox nor any other mercury UV company has a peer reviewed published study that shows it has reduced healthcare associated infection (HAI) rates, regardless of how long the mercury UV devices are used. Xenex is the only UV company with peer reviewed, published outcome studies showing reductions in Clostridium difficile (C.diff), MRSA and/or MDRO (multi-drug resistant organism) infection rates greater than 50 percent at hospitals using its technology.
NAD – National Advertising Division
In Dec. 2014, Clorox challenged Xenex's marketing claims through the National Advertising Division (NAD) which is a part of a “self-regulatory” body used by large consumer product companies to resolve advertising disputes. The NAD issued a press release on March 5, 2015 with the headline “Xenex Discontinues Claims for ‘Germ-Zapping Robots’ Following NAD Inquiry; Claims at Issue – Including Ebola Disinfectant Claims – Challenged by Clorox.”
“When we looked at the complaints brought by Clorox over specific statements on the Xenex website, we decided to replace those claims objected to by Clorox with more specific language based on recent studies that focus on the science of our technology and our customers’ success in reducing their infection rates,” said Morris Miller, CEO of Xenex. “We informed the NAD that Xenex had ceased using the express statements complained of by Clorox and thought that ended the matter. Clorox subsequently objected to our statements (which they did not challenge in their NAD complaint) indicating that competing UV disinfection devices contain or use bulbs that contain toxic mercury, and that the Xenex germ-zapping robot is faster than mercury UV devices.”
“Both statements are accurate. We filed the action to protect our ability to fairly compete in the marketplace.”
Clarification on NAD Claims—Be More Specific
For example, in its NAD complaint, Clorox objected to the statement: "Mercury bulbs contain elemental mercury, which means they are classified as hazardous and toxic."
Many, but not all, mercury bulbs are classified as hazardous waste. The mercury within these bulbs is toxic, not the bulb itself. Therefore, Xenex altered its wording. To clarify, Xenex now says, “Mercury bulbs contain elemental mercury. Mercury is toxic.” Or: “Mercury bulbs contain toxic mercury.” Or: "No toxic mercury" (when referring to the Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot’s bulbs).
Mercury is universally recognized as a toxic substance. Hospitals and health organizations are looking for and often require mercury-free solutions. In January 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Care Without Harm approved Mercury-Free Healthcare by 2020. In 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514, FederalLeadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, which states that the government will promote pollution prevention and the generation of waste by reducing and minimizing the quantity of toxic and hazardous chemicals and materials acquired, used, or disposed of. The bulbs used by Clorox and other mercury UV device providers contain mercury, which is a toxic substance. Special handling is required in the event of bulb breakage and depending upon the applicable state law and the amount of mercury present in the bulb, special rules may apply to disposal. These are important facts that hospitals should understand when selecting a portable room disinfection device.
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