The Spartan Mosquito Eradicator, touted as able to control 95 percent of mosquitoes for up to 90 days, is “a complete scam,” a proposed class action alleges, claiming defendants AC2T and Bonner Analytical Testing Co. are well aware the product is simply ineffective.
The 18-page suit says independent peer-reviewed research published recently in the Journal of Florida Mosquito Control Association, as well as in other scientific studies, reveals the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator falls well short of the representations on its label.
According to the case, AC2T’s sale of the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator amounts to a “fraudulent scheme” furthered with cooperation from defendant Bonner Analytical Testing Co., which the suit relays is owned by Spartan’s vice president.
Though the product was, in fact, tested in both a laboratory setting and field study to determine its effectiveness in reducing the population of a common species of mosquito known to carry disease, the results of the study, the lawsuit relays, show the product does not work.
“The findings of this study were hardly surprising,” the complaint, filed in New York federal court, says. “The Product only has three ‘active’ ingredients: sugar, salt, and yeast. Consumers are also instructed to add water to the devices. The devices purport to attract mosquitoes to drink their four-ingredient solution which supposedly kills the mosquitoes before they can breed.”
According to the lawsuit, however, the defendants’ claims with regard to the efficacy of their sugar-salt-yeast-water solution are too good to be true.
“Scientists have repeatedly researched whether consuming salt can kill mosquitoes,” the suit reads. “It cannot.”
Unfortunately for consumers, the salt content of the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator once water is added is “remarkably close to the salt content in the human blood – 1% of the Product’s solution vs. .9% observed in human blood,” the lawsuit says. In truth, mosquitoes who feed on the salt content of the defendants’ product do not experience “cuts” in their stomachs, and are actually able to eliminate the salt, the suit claims.
“In other words, mosquitoes simply urinate the salt out—just like other animals,” according to the case, which says another independent peer-reviewed study, conducted by the University of Mississippi’s School of Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences and yet to be published, supports the claim that salt ingestion will not reduce mosquito populations.
From the suit:
“The study explains that ‘several manufacturers … have promoted devices that claim ingestion of salt will significantly reduce populations of wild mosquitoes … there are no known scientific efficacy data that support these claims.’ … To be sure, the study tested the impact of salt ingestion on 9 common species of mosquito: Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, Aedes dorsalis, Aedes notoscriptus, Aedes vigilax, Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Culex pipiens, Culex quinquefasciatus, and Culex tarsalis. Id. The study states that ‘[b]ased on our data and coupled with the fact that mosquitoes have physiological and behavioral adaptations that allow them to avoid or process salt (as found in blood meals), we conclude that there is no scientific foundation for salt-based control methods of mosquitoes.’”
Moreover, the above-referenced study specifically mentions the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator as one such device for which there’s no data “that have tested the effectiveness of salt as a substance to kill mosquitoes,” the lawsuit continues. The authors of the study warned that state and federal laws, in many instances, do not mandate efficacy data to support claims made on mosquito control devices, and caution use of products such as the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator given they could pose a danger in areas where the bugs could transmit pathogens, according to the suit.
A step further, another peer-reviewed study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, found that consumption of salt content in mosquitoes actually causes them to consume more blood than they otherwise would have, the lawsuit claims.
With regard to the defendants’ use of sugar and yeast, the case, citing scientific studies, asserts yeast is ineffective given it’s already present in mosquitoes’ intestinal microbiota. As with salt, yeast is also food in human blood, the lawsuit says, characterizing the defendants’ claims that yeast and sugar could cause mosquitoes to explode as “absurdly misguided.”
The lawsuit alleges the defendants “already know that the Product does not work,” having repeatedly commissioned efficacy tests which debunked their marketing claims before then suppressing the publication of these findings via nondisclosure agreements and “threats” to those involved in the research.
“These threats to scientists sounding the alarms on the Product’s failure to work as advertised are key to furtherance of Defendants’ fraudulent scheme,” the complaint says. “Spartan’s founder and spokesperson, Jeremy Hirsch, has made personal threats to at least one scientist involved in this research in order to intimidate him out of publicizing the results of his research.”
In all, the plaintiff, a Brooklyn consumer, claims the defendants have sold millions of Spartan Mosquito Eradicators in the U.S. based on false promises of effectiveness backed by at least one Bonner Analytical study deemed “scientifically invalid.”
The consumer alleges the defendants’ actions are “especially malicious” given “they know consumers are relying on their worthless Product to protect them from mosquito-borne illnesses.”
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