Company’s wildfire protection spray doesn’t work as advertised, prosecutors say
Two Southern California prosecutors have accused a company of using residents’ fears to sell them a wildfire defense spray for their homes that the prosecutors say doesn’t work.
In a court filing Monday that seeks fines and a civil injunction, Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer and Santa Barbara County Dist. Atty. Joyce Dudley accused L.A.-based Jim Moseley and his company, Sun FireDefense, of hawking a fire-defense spray that doesn’t live up to the hype.
“If you are selling a product that you claim protects homes against wildfires, it had better work as advertised,” Feuer said at a news conference Monday announcing the lawsuit.
The company claims its SPF 3000 Clear Spray can keep a home from catching fire amid a shower of embers for up to five years. It says the spray is nontoxic and Class A-rated for fire resistance.
But prosecutors say all of that should be questioned. There’s no record to substantiate the five-year claim, and tests performed by investigators failed to produce the results the company boasted, Feuer said. His office also said two toxic chemicals were mixed into the spray, despite the company’s claims it is nontoxic.
The lawsuit came as a surprise to Moseley, who said he’s been in communication with Feuer’s office for months over his company’s claims.
“It’s complete B.S. ... a witch hunt,” Moseley said Monday. “They were sent different samples they could pick and choose from. They’ve got everything.”
At least 15 people in Santa Barbara County and 35 in the city of Los Angeles have purchased the spray treatment for their homes, which is meant to cover exterior walls at a cost of $3.50 per square foot, Feuer said.
People “often live in vulnerable areas because they’re in hillsides and other locations where we’ve seen fires erupt,” Feuer said. “In that kind of a setting, you could imagine people reaching out in the hope that some [product] is going to work for them. You can imagine [them] being desperate and trying to find some way to protect their homes.”
But Moseley maintains his product works. He’s had other inventions featured on TV and in The Times. But his website also includes the logos of agencies such as the National Fire Protection Assn., which said Monday that it has not endorsed any of Moseley’s products.
“If consumers falsely believe that their homes are protected from wildfires when in fact their homes are not, those consumers could delay evacuation, placing their lives, the lives of their families and loved ones, and the lives of first responders at great risk,” said Santa Barbara County’s Dudley in a prepared statement.
In 2014, the Los Angeles Business Journal awarded Moseley’s SPF3000 product the Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award. Soon-Shiong also owns the Los Angeles Times.
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