Washington, D.C. – On January 28, 2015, Federal Trade Commission Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell issued a precedent setting decision in the case of FTC v. ECM BioFilms, FTC Docket No. 9358.
In his decision, Judge Chappell held ECM’s claim that its plastics additive, ECM MasterBatch Pellets™, causes plastics to biodegrade was supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. He rejected FTC’s challenge to that claim. He also rejected FTC’s argument that the term “biodegradable” implies that a product will completely biodegrade into elements found in nature within one year after customary disposal—a position articulated in the FTC’s Green Guides industry guidance. He upheld the FTC’s position challenging the specific rate within which ECM plastic degrades, given the unpredictable fate of plastics in the environment.
ECM BioFilms discontinued making the challenged rate claim years before the decision. Judge Chappell refused to include any fencing-in provisions as a part of his order. ECM BioFilms intends to abide by all terms of the order pending appeal and has issued the following corporate statement: “ECM BioFilms respects the decision of administrative Law Judge Chappell. We are particularly gratified that Judge Chappell determined, based on a thorough review of all scientific evidence, that ECM’s representation that its ECM MasterBatch Pellets™ cause plastics to biodegrade is supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.”
“We have long since discontinued making claims concerning estimated periods within which biodegradation may occur and have no intention of making such claims in the future.”
ECM BioFilms is represented by the constitutional and administrative law firm, Emord & Associates, P.C.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES
In the Matter of
ECM BIOFILMS, INC.,
a corporation, also d/b/a