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A Maumee company that is best known for odd gadgets such as chirping clocks and battery-less flashlights is moving into the fight against the H1N1 virus.
Mark Feldstein & Associates Inc., which buys unusual products from overseas manufacturers and supplies them to domestic retailers, is about to market four products that use a form of ultraviolet light to kill viruses and bacteria, including the so-called swine flu virus.
One product, which recently passed laboratory tests, is a foot-long sanitizer wand that emits UV-C light to kill germs.
Three other items that haven't finished a testing phase are toothbrush sanitizers and a pocket-sized sanitizer device. All of the items are made by a manufacturer in China.
"We've had the products for a few months, but we've kind of taken it slow to make sure everything checked out," said Howard Feldstein, the company's marketing manager.
"We just did the one product so far, which was the wand, and it did show 98 percent reduction in the H1N1 virus," he said.
Although UV-C light is used by hospitals, dentist offices, water treatment, and food-processing plants to reduce bacteria and viruses, Mr. Feldstein said the wand needed to be tested by an independent laboratory, BioScience Laboratories Inc. of Bozeman, Mont., to verify its effectiveness.
Large retailers demand independent testing to assure product quality.
Bed Bath & Beyond and the QVC shopping network have shown interest in the products, Mr. Feldstein said. And the Maumee company has long-standing relationships with Kohl's, J.C. Penney Co., and Rite Aid, all of which have sold the company's products.
"I think their concern is the testing data. They want to make sure that the testing is legitimate, so there's a lot of documentation we have to provide," Mr. Feldstein said.
If retailers accept the test data, the UV-C light products could begin appearing in some popular retail chains within a month or two, he added.
The Maumee company does not sell any of its products itself, but markets them to retailers who then set a price for the merchandise.
Thus far, the UV-C wand is being sold by a small retailer in Port Clinton, Northstar Specialties, and at a gift shop in Malabar State Park in Lucas, Ohio.
Northstar has had the wand, which it sells for $35, since November, but it has sold very few, an employee said.
The Maumee firm's UV-C light sanitizers are to be on display this week at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a premier technology industry show.
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