When is a shirt a pesticide?

An outdoor clothing manufacturer found out the hard way that it has to register its anti-microbial garments with California pesticide regulators.

Utah-based Alfwear Inc., makers of the Kuhl label of outdoor clothing, agreed to pay a fine of $86,715 and remove 29 shirt and dress styles from California retail outlets after failing to register them, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation said Thursday.

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California law requires manufacturers to register any garment making claims of protecting people from pests, which include bacteria, fungi and other microbes. That helps the department substantiate the claims and monitor garment treatments. 

“We are seeing more and more products on the market with claims that mislead the consumer into believing that pesticides in the products will protect them from bacteria and germs,” said Brian Leahy, director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation. “These claims have not been substantiated and approved by DPR.”

Department inspectors who make the rounds of retail outlets discovered the garments in a Sacramento REI store.

The department has previously gone after manufacturers of underwear, socks and garden hoses for making similar claims about their products.

Twitter: @LATgeoffmohan


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