Facemask ad banned for claiming it could kill Covid-19 virus

·2-min read

An ad for facemasks has been banned for misleadingly stating that they could kill the Covid-19 virus.

The website for Evaq facemasks showed an image of a woman wearing a facemask with the “Evaq” logo and text stating: “Anti Viral Face Mask kills all viruses on contact.”

Further text reads: “Evaq Masks kill viruses on contact to prevent cross contamination”, “Only anti-viral coatings like Evaq’s DiOX D4 (tested to ISO 18184:19) are effective against the latest strains of Sars-Covid”, and “The Evaq mask has been created to help protect the wearer from both airborne and contact infection.”

The Evaq ad. (ASA/PA)
The Evaq ad. (ASA/PA)

More claims on the “about us” page stated: “The only mask independently proven to kill Covid-19 on contact,” and “Working with SGS (a leading global ISO rated laboratory) and Cambridge University, DiOX D4 has been tested with protocols … adjusted to use a mammalian Coronavirus and formatted as a ‘splash’ test … The results show that 99.7% of viral pathogens introduced to the fabric surface were killed within one hour.”

The complainant, a technology consultant, who understood that the mask had been tested against a mammalian Coronavirus, challenged whether the claims that it was proven to kill viruses on contact, including Covid-19 were misleading and could be substantiated.

Evaq said that at the time of their product launch they believed it was the only mask to have secured the use of DiOX D4, which was an anti-microbial agent that was the first to be tested against Sars-Covid strain 229E.

“They said they now acknowledged that there might be other face covering providers using the same technology and they would amend their advertising to reflect that.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said consumers would understand the claims to mean that Covid-19 and other viruses would be killed as soon as they had contact with the Evaq mask, and therefore the mask could prevent transmission and help protect the wearer from infection.

It said: “We considered that the testing did not take into account how the abilities of the coating would be affected by factors involved in the real-life use of the mask, such as moisture or temperature changes from the wearer’s breathing.

“Although the active substance used in the product had been approved, we considered that we had not seen adequate evidence that Covid-19 and other viruses were killed on contact with the Evaq mask, thus helping to protect wearers from infection. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the Code.”

The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, adding: “We told Evaq to ensure that they did not state or imply that their masks could kill viruses, including Covid-19, thus preventing transmission, if they did not have sufficient evidence to substantiate their claims.”

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