|The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Complaints|
Board agreed the webpage "exaggerated and conflated
the causation between cell phones and cancer".
by Nicholas Jones, New Zealand Herald political reporter, nzherald.co, 10 December 2015
A complaint has been upheld against a website selling a "radiation shield" it claimed would protect users from cancers caused by cell phones.
The website, Life Energy Solutions, included a page titled "Do Cell Phones Give you Cancer?" which was used to advertise its products -- a "Cell Phone Radiation Shield", a "Nu-Me Protective Pendant" and a "Pyramid Energy Balancer". It also offered an electromagnetic field (EMF) testing kit.
The page included claims that cell phone use caused cancer and these products could shield users from EMF and radiation.
"Cell phone exposure close to the body can weaken bones but can cause cancerous growth in soft tissue," the website read.
It warned women that carrying cell phones in their bras could cause breast cancer and also said "guys who would like children at some point" should never carry a cell phone in their pocket due to supposed risks of infertility.
"Children are most susceptible to brain tumours due to their thinner skulls, faster cell growth and longer exposure", it said. "Unborn children are also at greater risk and expectant mothers should reduce their cell phone use."
The complaint said the advertiser made "a lot of unsupported claims" about the links between cancer and mobile phones.
"Although the number of people that would be exploited is probably quite low, the extreme nature of the claims makes this a serious problem," it said.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Complaints Board agreed the webpage "exaggerated and conflated the causation between cell phones and cancer".
It also noted that testimonials on the website had no provided authentication to ensure they were genuine.
"The Complaints Board confirmed the use of testimonials to support claims in lieu of robust scientific evidence was irresponsible and deceptive and likely to mislead the consumer," the board said.
The advertisement also included a "100 per cent Satisfaction Guarantee" which the complaints board said implied the products were guaranteed to work.
In response to the complaint, the company said the page only "asks the question" and reported third party research "for the reader to make up their own mind".
"The page is not even an advertisement as such in that it does not advertise our products other than to refer them to other product pages with a statement of fact," it said.
The fact in question was: "At life Energy Designs we have tested tools specifically for the cell phone, an individual, or the whole house or workplace."
"We do have tools, they have been tested and they are designed for the purposes specified," the company claimed in response.
The ASA confirmed the website was an advertisement and said the advertiser "provided no substantiation which supported the claims made about products being advertised in reducing any effects of EMF or reducing the risk of cancer from cell phone radiation."
Claims on the site that cell phones were causing cancer in expectant mothers and children, inhibiting conception and causing breast and facial cancers played on fear, it said.
The complaints board rules the complaint was upheld.
- NZ Herald