Hey, great news, local CBS affiliate KIRO-TV found a cure for COVID! Last year, the news station ran a glowing report on a Utah company (which they called “local,” but I guess Utah’s in our local galaxy group so ok) called PurEnvironment, which promised to blast your home or office with a miracle spray that “kills all viruses” and “provides 90+ day protection.”
In reality, PurEnvironment’s spray wasn’t approved for viruses, and they’ve been fined $15,000 and sentenced to probation for their claims.
But of course they were—their claim shouldn’t pass even the most cursory of sniff tests. A mold-cleaning company that claims to be able to keep surfaces virus-free for three months? A foggy spray that the company owner calls, on camera, “a cure” for COVID? Sure, sure, sure, and does it also keep weight off, grow thick luxurious hair, clean my windows, repair my scratched vinyl, take the dog for a walk, and soften my dishpan hands?
Fortunately, only one organization seems to have been suckered in by a pitch that seems about as credible as Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir from Sweeney Todd. Unfortunately, that mark was a news station watched by literally dozens of people.
“It adds a protective layer that will guard against the coronavirus for 90 days,” KIRO reported back in April.
“We really have the cure for this,” PurEnvironment co-founder Brent Allenbach declares in the segment, which was still live on their website as of yesterday … until I reached out to them for comment. They haven’t responded, but they did replace the original piece with an update about PurEnvironment being found guilty of making false claims. (You can read the original on the Wayback Machine.)
In the original piece, KIRO quoted Allenbach as saying that their spray applied a “positive charge” to surfaces, and that “bacteria, viruses and mold all have negative charges,” and the interaction kills them. Ohhhhh … kayyyyyyy … that sounds … wrong, if for no other reason than it means that you’d be able to prevent COVID for 90 days by rubbing a balloon in your hair.
According to Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office, PurEnvironment reached out to KIRO in April of 2020 to boast about their treatment — which, to be clear, is a “scam” according to the AG. KIRO ran an interview with the founder and showed them spraying-down Flow Fitness, a South Lake Union gym a few blocks from KIRO’s offices. The original piece concluded with instructions for contacting PurEnvironment to get your own home or office treated.
“Thankfully, no individuals or businesses are known to have actually hired or paid PurEnvironment for these services,” Ferguson’s office says, which really says something about the amount of weight carried by the recommendation.
Last week, after pleading guilty PurEnvironment was sentenced to a year of probation, a $15,000 fine, and ordered to come into compliance with state and federal regulations. Currently, their website still features claims that their EverPURE treatment will protect against COVID-19 for up to 90 days.