Ads watchdog rules "e-smog" claims unproven

Advertising Standards Authority bans website from selling anti-e-smog chips

Nicole Kobie
21 Nov 2012

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a website from selling "e-smog" protection chips, saying they aren't supported by "robust evidence".

The ads watchdog investigated the Business Revolution website - which features the slogan "better safe than sorry innovations" - for selling products by a firm called WillauTronic, which creates devices to battle the effects of "e-smog".

The site claimed electromagnetic smog is a "harmful radiation" released by electrical equipment, causing complaints including nervousness, trouble sleeping, headaches, allergies, cancer and even death.

"It is an uncontradicted fact that environmental pollution due to electro smog has an ever-increasing impact," claimed the website, which was still available online at the the time of writing - before this "fact" was contradicted by a health campaigner complaining to the ASA.

"These truly unhealthy situations must not be helplessly endured, a tiny chip from WillauTronic may be able to help," the website claimed.

It said its £45 chips - which are metallic stickers designed to be adhered to smartphones, PCs, and TVs - will "neutralise" the "stress-causing basic vibration" with a "counter vibration". It also sells a plug-in "area e-smog neutraliser" to cover 80m[sup]2[/sup] for £495.

A health campaigner reported the website to the ASA, questioning "the claims in relation to the effects of e-smog" and whether the products could be shown to do what the site claims.

The website said the evidence for e-smog was based on a book - A Handy Way to Cook Your Brain: What's the damage?. However, the ASA said you can't believe everything you read.

"We understood that some of the claims on the website may have been informed by, or taken from, other sources such as the book mentioned by Business Revolution. However, they were nevertheless presented as objective and therefore needed to be supported by robust evidence," said the ASA. "Because we had not received evidence to substantiate the claims made with regard to the effects of e-smog and the efficacy of the WillauTronic products, we concluded that they were misleading."

Because of that, the ASA banned the site from marketing WillauTronic's e-smog products.

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