FTC: Two paint companies mislead consumers over VOC content
Sherwin-Williams and PPG Architectural Coatings, two of the industry’s leading paint manufacturers, have agreed to settle a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charge that they misled consumers to believe that some of their paints are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
According to an FTC press release, Sherwin-Williams and PPG make their “zero-VOC” claims through a variety of media, including brochures, point-of-purchase marketing, product labels and the Internet. Some of these materials are disseminated to independent distributors. The FTC contends that consumers most likely interpret the companies’ “zero-VOC” claims as applying to the final product — tinted paint.
In many instances, the FTC said, both Sherwin-Williams’s Dutch Boy Refresh and PPG’s Pure Performance paints contain more than trace levels of VOCs after the base paint is tinted. The complaints also charge the companies with distributing promotional materials that provided independent retailers with the means to deceptively advertise that the companies’ paints contain zero VOCs.
The proposed consent orders settling the FTC’s charges are the same for both Sherwin-Williams and PPG. First, they prohibit the companies from claiming that their paints contain “zero VOCs,” unless, after tinting, they have a VOC level of zero grams per liter, or the companies have competent and reliable scientific evidence that the paint contains no more than trace levels of VOCs. The definition of “trace” comes from the “trace amount” test included in the FTC’s recently released updated Green Guides for environmental marketing claims.
The FTC agreement will also require the companies to clearly and prominently disclose that the “zero VOC” claims apply only to the base paint, and that depending on the consumer’s color choice, the VOC level may rise. In cases where the tinted paint’s VOC level could be 50 grams per liter or more, the proposed orders require the companies to disclose that the VOC level may increase “significantly” or “up to [the highest possible VOC level after tinting].” In addition, the orders prohibit the companies from making any VOC claim or other environmental claim unless it is true and not misleading, and unless the companies have competent scientific evidence to back it up.
Finally, the proposed orders prohibit both Sherwin-Williams and PPG from providing anyone, including independent retailers or distributors, with the means of making any of the prohibited deceptive claims. The orders also would require the companies to send letters to retailers requiring them to remove all ads for the covered paints that have “zero VOC” claims and putting corrective stickers on current paint cans making these claims.
There is an awesome Zero-VOC
There is an awesome Zero-VOC by YOLO Paint. They are based out of Portland, Oregon. The base is Zero-VOC and the pigment to color the base is Zero-VOC.
Simpson Manufacturing Q3 sales rise
Simpson Manufacturing reported net income of $13.0 million for the third quarter of 2012 compared with net income of $19.4 million for the third quarter of 2011, which included a $4.5 million gain on the sale of the Keymark equity investment.
Net sales increased 6.0% to $172.1 million compared with net sales of $162.4 million for the year-ago period. The increase in sales was primarily due to $8.8 million in sales from businesses acquired since December 2011 with the remainder primarily due to increased volume.
Sales increased in North America, due in part to recent acquisitions. Sales in Europe were flat, primarily due to sales from the recent European acquisition offset by decreases throughout the rest of the Company’s European operations.
In the first nine months of 2012, the company reported net income of $36.0 million compared with net income of $46.0 million for the first nine months of 2011. Net sales for the nine-month period increased 8.4% to $512.5 million compared with net sales of $472.7 million for the first nine months of 2011 due in part to recent acquisitions.
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Home Depot, U.S. Home Systems close merger transaction
Home Depot and U.S. Home Systems have announced the completion of the merger of USHS with an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Home Depot. The merger was approved by the stockholders of USHS at a special meeting held on Oct. 26. As a result, USHS became an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Home Depot.
Irving, Texas-based USHS is currently an exclusive provider of kitchen and bath refacing products and services, as well as closet and garage organizational systems to Home Depot.
"The Home Depot has had a long-standing relationship with USHS. By formally bringing USHS into The Home Depot family, we expect to further enhance our customers’ home service experience," said Kevin Hofmann, senior VP Home Services, Home Depot.
"The USHS board of directors conducted a thorough review of the company’s alternatives to enhance stockholder value, and we are pleased that this transaction appropriately recognizes the value of USHS’ relationships and solutions, while providing our stockholders with an attractive cash premium for their investment," said Murray Gross, president, CEO and chairman, USHS.
As a result of the merger, USHS’ common stock ceased trading on the NASDAQ Global Market at market close on Oct. 26. Stockholders who hold shares through a bank or broker will not have to take any action to have their shares converted into cash; the conversions will be handled by the bank or broker. Stockholders who hold certificates can surrender their certificates for $12.50 per share in cash, without interest, through the paying agent for the merger, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A will be sending out a letter of transmittal and instructions to registered stockholders in the next several days regarding specific actions they will need to take to surrender their shares for the merger consideration. USHS’ stockholders of record should wait until they receive the letter of transmittal before surrendering their share certificates.
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