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WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, 23 OTHER STATES SETTLE 'GREEN MARKETING' CLAIMS WITH SYLVANIA

 OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty-four states, led by the Washington Attorney General's (AG) Office, have entered into an agreement with Sylvania Inc., prohibiting the company from misrepresenting energy savings and other environmental benefits of its light bulbs.
 The agreement, announced today by State Attorney General Christine O. Gregoire, caps off a 12-month investigation led by Washington and eight other states, which have been policing so-called "green marketing" claims since 1989. Sylvania has agreed to pay Washington and the other lead states a total of $135,000.
 "We believe Sylvania's claims of technological innovations and reduced energy costs were deceptive," Gregoire said. "This is the latest in a series of settlements or lawsuits against companies in one of the fastest-growing areas of consumer fraud -- environmental or 'green marketing.'"
 One year ago, the Washington's AG's Office joined 31 other states in a similar settlement agreement against the General Electric Co. Last summer, Gregoire's office fined a Washington firm for claiming its galvanized garbage cans were biodegradable.
 Today's action against Sylvania focuses on the firm's "Soft White Energy Saver" incandescent bulbs and "Energy Saver" reflector bulbs, which do not provide the same amount of light the firm claims they are intended to replace. Actual energy savings result from reduced wattage in the bulbs.
 In the 20-page settlement, the Massachusetts firm is prohibited from:
 -- Representing that its bulbs save energy, provide the same amount of light, lower consumers' energy costs, or offer environmental benefits, unless the company has scientific evidence;
 -- Claiming a bulb will provide the same amount of light as a bulb to which it is compared;
 -- Misrepresenting the wattage of its bulbs through packaging, advertising and other promotional materials.
 The company's packaging for the Energy Saver Ellipsoidal Reflector bulbs states the "replaced wattage" (the number of watts the new light bulb is intended to replace) in large, bold, black type, while the actual wattage of the new bulb is in much smaller type.
 "This packaging could mislead the consumer into thinking the real wattage of the new bulb was equal to the wattage of the one being replaced," Gregoire said. "That, simply, is not the case, and consumers should know."
 Other states included in negotiating the settlement are: Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Each will receive $15,000. Assistant Attorney General Donna Fisher handled the case for Washington state.
 -0- 11/17/93
 /CONTACT: Donna Fisher, 206-593-5057, or Dean R. Owen, 206-586-1883, both of the Washington State Attorney General's Office/


CO: Washington State Attorney General; Sylvania Inc. ST: Washington, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York,
 Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin IN: SU:


IC-RB -- SE004 -- 5459 11/17/93 11:55 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 17, 1993
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