Air purifiers made by Molekule, Inc. are the subject of another proposed class action that alleges the company’s marketing of the products is built on “false, deceptive and misleading claims” spread pervasively through social media and online and print media.
The 23-page lawsuit alleges Molekule’s marketing claims for its Air, Air Pro, Air Mini and Air Mini+ air purifiers are bunk in that the products can neither eliminate/destroy 100 percent of indoor pollutants, including bioaerosols and volatile organic compounds, nor perform better than comparable products that use HEPA-filter technology. Molekule’s air purifiers also fail to perform as advertised when it comes to relieving the symptoms and severity of allergies and asthma, the suit claims.
Overall, Molekule has allegedly failed to honestly identify and describe the components, attributes and features of its air purifiers relative to themselves and comparable items, and the value of the products is materially less than what the company has represented, the case says.
“Had Plaintiff and proposed class members known the truth, they would not have bought the Products or would have paid less for it [sic],” the complaint reads, echoing at least two other lawsuits.
The lawsuit relays that despite Molekule’s advertising statements, the company’s products were found to be ineffective at purifying the air. According to the complaint, Consumer Reportsranked Molekule in 2019 as the third-lowest among a test of 48 air purifiers, and the same year the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau determined the company’s claims related to pollution removal, the superiority of PECO over HEPA technology, and allergy and asthma relief were unsupported. The case says that although Molekule agreed to remove and modify certain claims after the National Advertising Division action, the “pervasive nature” of the company’s advertising has ensured consumers will rely on “false, deceptive and misleading claims” when shopping for an air purifier.
Challenged in the case is Molekule’s testing of its air purifiers. Per the suit, the company’s product testing does not substantiate its pollution-fighting claims, in part because the air purifiers were not tested in a consumer-relevant environment or in conditions in which aerosols and pollutants were introduced directly into the device, the filing says:
“Consumer relevant conditions would have required the challenge aerosols to be introduced into a larger surrounding chamber as part of a ‘recirculating test’ to assess the ability of the Product to clean pollutants from the air of a room-sized chamber.
Therefore, the test’s results do not accurately reflect the actual marketed Product’s effectiveness at removing pollutants as typically present in an actual entire room.”
As the lawsuit tells it, this means Molekule’s much-touted Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) technology has not been proven to be able to completely eliminate airborne mold, allergens, viruses and bacteria in minutes as advertised.
Moreover, although Molekule promotes the apparent ability of its air purifiers to eliminate harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, the company’s testing to back up these claims is, according to the case, “flawed for several reasons,” including because the tests were not conducted by independent labs as Molekule attests or in consumer-relevant conditions.
The suit similarly goes on to contend that no scientific evidence exists to back up Molekule’s claim that its air purifiers can aid consumers with allergies or asthma. The two human studies used by the defendant to back these claims, a beta trial and an expanded study, were insufficient at gathering enough data in order to accurately claim Molekule’s air purifiers performed as advertised, the case alleges:
“Defendant failed to disclose relevant information to evaluate its studies.
No data was provided on how the study population was recruited to insure [sic] it was a representative population.
The small sample size was insufficient to support the sweeping claims of allergy and asthma relief.
No evidence was provided that the test’s duration was sufficient to evaluate allergy relief.
The studies were not ‘blinded,’ which increased the potential for bias given that the test relied entirely on self-reported symptoms.
Moreover, the main author of the studies was defendant’s employee.”
Therefore, the lawsuit says, Molekule’s claims about allergy and symptom relief are unsupported and rendered false and misleading. In the same light, consumer and physician testimonials used by Molekule are off-base given there is no scientific evidence to back the underlying efficacy claims, the suit contends.
The lawsuit looks to represent consumers in New York who bought any Molekule air purifier during the applicable statute of limitations period. The suit also looks to cover consumers in Iowa and Arkansas who bought the products.
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