North Face settles lawsuit over bacteria-free shoes

SAN FRANCISCO Thu May 6, 2010 12:35pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Outdoor products company North Face, a unit of VF Corp, will pay $207,500 to settle claims that shoes advertised to kill bacteria were never tested, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday.

North Face was sued in September by the EPA, which said claims that more than 70 styles of shoes, including "Fory Gore-Tex XCR" and "Hedgehog SCR," would prevent disease-causing bacteria went too far.

Similarly, the agency fined audiovisual company Califone International $220,000 over unproven claims that headphones made by the company would prevent the spread of bacteria.

It also fined Component Hardware Group Inc and John S. Dull Associates Inc $98,300 over unverified claims that bathroom fixtures marketed to hospitals and other industries would help to control the spread of E. coli, staph and other diseases.

Although the shoes sold by North Face contained registered pesticides, they were never tested, so the health claims were unsubstantiated, the EPA said.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Ted Kerr)