FTC Takes Aim at Bio Frauds

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The Federal Trade Commission said yesterday that it sent about 40 e-mails to some Web site operators demanding that they take down information claiming that such things as oregano oil or zinc mineral water can prevent or treat anthrax and other bio-terrors.

The FTC said that it found 200 sites marketing bio-terrorism products in a coordinated surf with the Food and Drug Administration, some state attorneys general and the California Department of Health Services.

Among the items for sale on the sites were gas masks, protective suits, mail sterilizers and biohazard test kits. Some also included homeopathic remedies and dietary supplements like oregano oil, zinc mineral water, colloidal silver and thyme, claiming they are treatments for biological contamination.

More sites may get warnings, the FTC said.

"Essentially, these operators need to shut down these areas of their sites or face prosecution," said Howard Beales, director of consumer protection in a statement. Violators face fines of up to $11,000 per infraction, according to the FTC.


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