The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is suing The North Face over its claim on hang tags that the silver-based AgION treatment “inhibits the growth of disease-causing bacteria” in footwear. The EPA says the claim is unsubstantiated and could only be made by registered pesticides under federal law. Any product claiming to repel bacteria must be registered with the EPA prior to sale and pass EPA testing for efficacy. The EPA said TNF could be fined nearly $1 million. Though many products in the outdoor industry make similar claims, it seems that the EPA’s action against TNF was specifically about the wording in the hang tag, rather than part of a broader enforcement action against these claims. VF Corporation, TNF’s parent, said it that it removed the hang tags as soon as it learned of the complaint, and noted that the EPA was not saying that its products were unsafe. The claims were made about 70 styles of footwear with an AgION silver-treated footbed.