On June 16th, The Center for Environmental Health filed a lawsuit against more than 30 personal care companies citing their labels are improperly using the word “organic” to promote their products.
The suit, filed in Alameda County, California Superior Court, cites a 2003 California law that requires labeling of any organic product to contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients (not including water), which the plaintiffs say the companies are not doing.
Companies named in the suit include long-time organic brands Kiss MY Face, Aubrey Organics and Beauty Without Cruelty, and others including a line targeted at infants—Nature’s Baby.
The CEH alleges that their team purchased products from all of the named defendants earlier this year and upon reading the labels, discovered the products fell short of the California ruling, making unsubstantiated and misleading product claims and giving them grounds for their lawsuit.
This is not the first suit to target organic personal care brands. The CEH filed a similar one last month, in the state of California as well, which also named major personal care brands including JASON, Avalon Organics and Alba Botanicals. In 2008, Dr. Bronner’s—the well-known manufacturers and proponents of organic, fair trade soaps—sued brands owned by Estee Lauder, Kiss My Face and Hain Celestial for similar, misleading claims.
Although the brands in question do use organic ingredients, they can also contain relatively small amounts, contributing a negligible level of benefit, according to the CEH’s filing. The products are often also comprised of synthetic—potentially harmful—chemicals, and may use toxic petrochemicals in processing as well.
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