advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Purell-it *sorta* works?

Out of the mouths of...

From barfblog comes the story of a 9-year old girl who did a science fair project comparing the effectiveness of hand sanitizers on E-coli. Results?

Oops for Purell, of Kills 99.99% of the most common germs that may cause illness fame. Because while bleach killed the bacteria—no hand sanitizer used in the test did. Of course, what would allegedly disproven claims in a setting unlike one the brand used be without cover your ass marketing speak from said brand?

A spokesperson for the makers of Purell told KING 5 News that it stands by its claims to kill 99 percent of germs and suggested we contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Except that...

A CDC spokesperson says they have not studied hand sanitizers specifically on E.coli and recommend hand sanitizers only when soap and water are not available.

Oh. Cue gray area. (They do have guidelines for healthcare professionals though with respect to E. coli.)

Now that they mention it however, “E. coli” doesn’t apper anywhere on Purell’s facts page. Not to single parent company Johnson & Johnson out, but other brands like Soapopular don’t either. Making things more confusing for consumers, Germ-X also leaves out an E. coli mention but says their product meets FDA requirements as a regulated over-the-counter (OTC) drug.

Just what recommendations or governing body are consumers supposed to go by? The CDC? The FDA? The NFL?

And while *technically* brands may say they’re following federal guidelines, there are things they don’t say too. There’s stretching the truth, and then there’s leaving things out. 99.99% without even mentioning E. coli? Maybe the hot virus of the moment H1N1 was taking up all the space.

Had enough yet?

Among other companies making the FDA’s Hot 100 list, Soapopular got spanked for claims that using its non-alcohol products prevented H1N1. On their FAQ page, they dispute the CDC’s older approach to the problem, but then also cite FDA standards that their product meets.

Pick one: Either all regulatory bodies are not to be trusted, or they are. This isn’t about them being wrong, more, it’s that they’re just not apparently overseeing certain things yet, and that’s not the same.

In defense of a brand that has to submit their product for Uncle Sam’s approval, you have one government body saying one thing, another saying something different (or not at all), and the brand itself trying to go by what their own data shows.

The result though: Nobody is on the same page and consumers are confused.

My head was spinning just crosschecking all that—imagine the mom in the span of :30 seconds rolling down a grocery aisle staring at 10 brands all claiming they all kill 99.99% of whatever.

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