Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Glendale-based Clean Air EXP and a similar letter to Phoenix-based Dream City Church, regarding false advertisements alleging their air purification systems could neutralize up to 99 percent of the coronavirus in 10 minutes.
“Businesses cannot mislead consumers with their advertising, especially when it comes to health issues as serious as COVID-19,” Brnovich said in a statement Friday. “We will not tolerate companies or individuals attempting to deceive or exploit the public during this public health crisis.”
In his letter to Clean Air EXP Brnovich wrote, “The AGO is aware of no scientific research or public health authority that has certified any kind of air treatment product as a means of universally preventing COVID-19 infections at all or at any distance.”
Brnovich added that the lack of scientific evidence to show that there are any products that can neutralize the coronavirus from the air is a “misrepresentation or a false promise” punishable by up to $10,000 per violation. It could further be responsible for paying “restitution to consumers and any fees and costs” they may have incurred based on their false advertising.
The letter ordered the company to “cease and desist from making representations suggesting that Clean Air EXP air purification solution eliminates COVID-19 until such time as Clean Air EXP can provide scientific evidence for such representations.”
Dream City Church, the mega-church where President Trump held a rally earlier this week, was sent a similar letter, ordering the church to remove all posted statements that gave false misrepresentations regarding COVID-19.
“Because Dream City rents its facility for public events not related to church functions, the church was placed on notice that misrepresentations and false promises related to the safety of church facilities may violate the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act,” Brnovich said in a statement Friday.
Several of the signs reportedly stated that the air-filtration system “kills 99 percent of COVID within 10 minutes” and that “when you come into [the church’s] auditorium, 99 percent of COVID is gone,” and “So you can know when you come down here, you’ll be safe and protected.”
Few people wore masks during the rally held at the church Tuesday, and Trump down played the severity of the coronavirus, saying Democrats “are trying to do their best to keep the country shut down and closed, because they’d love those numbers not to be good.”
Arizona now has one of the worst cases in the country with over 66,000 cases reported and currently has a higher rate of infection per capita than any country in Europe, according to the local Fox News 10 outlet.
Both Clean Air EXP and Dream City Church have until Monday to comply with Brnovich’s letters.