Mouth-guard marketer Brain-Pad Inc. and its President Joseph Manzo are prohibited from making unsupported claims about their product reducing the risk of concussions under a settlement reached last month with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
In a press release, the FTC said that Brain-Pad can’t “make any claims that its mouth guards reduce the risk of concussions from lower jaw impacts, reduce the risk of concussions generally, or have been clinically proven to do either.”
As part of the FTC’s effort to protect consumers from hyped-health claims, the settlement also prohibits Brain-Pad and Manzo from misrepresenting the health benefits of any mouth guard or other athletic equipment designed to protect the brain from injury.
Brain-Pad and Manzo made their claims about the mouth guards’ concussion-protecting qualities on product packaging and in Internet and print advertisements, the FTC said.
On packaging for the Brain-Pad Pro-Plus Junior mouth guard, the defendants claimed the device “creates new brain safety space!” and “Reduces Risk of Concussions! From Lower Jaw Impacts,” the FTC said in its press release.
Packaging for the adult-size Brain-Pad Double Mouth Guard made similar assertions, saying that the device “Reduces risk of CONCUSSIONS! Protects Upper AND Lower Teeth!”
The mouth guards retail for $10 to $30.
“Mouth guards can help to shield a person’s teeth from being injured, and some can reduce impact to the lower jaw,” David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “But it’s a big leap to say these devices can also reduce the risk of concussions. The scientific evidence to make that claim just isn’t adequate.”
The FTC administrative complaint charges the Conshohocken, Pa.-based Brain-Pad and Manzo with deceptive advertising for claiming that their mouth guards reduce the risk of concussions from lower jaw impacts, reduce the risk of concussions generally, and have been clinically proven to do both.
The FTC vote to accept the consent agreement package containing the proposed consent order for public comment was 4-1, with Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch voting no.
The agreement was subject to public comment for 30 days, through Monday, Sept. 17. After that, the FTC will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final.
In its press release, the FTC said that it issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the respondent has actually violated the law.
A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the respondent that the law has been violated. When FTC issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000.