THE DIRT ON ORGANICS
While erroneous labeling is at the heart of the lawsuit, the issue goes much deeper. Besides not containing a minimum of 70 percent organic ingredients, some of the products contain potentially toxic ingredients, including chemicals such as triethanolamine, cocamide DEA, and butylated hydroxyanisole, and parabens that are linked to skin irritation, asthma, hormone disruption, and even cancer. And the fact that some of those products are meant to be used by children makes matters even more concerning.
Besides not containing a minimum of 70 percent organic ingredients, some of the products contain potentially toxic ingredients.
“For years, organic advocates have called on personal care companies to fix their improper ‘organic’ labels, but our recent purchasing shows the industry is still rife with unsubstantiated organic claims,” says Michael Green, executive director of CEH in a press release. “We want to encourage companies to use organic ingredients and insure that consumers can trust organic labels to be meaningful and consistent.”
CEH bases its claims on a study conducted where it purchased beauty products labeled as “organic” from retailers like Target, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Whole Foods, and other Bay Area retailers. Out of the lotions, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and personal-care products it tested, CEH found dozens of products, made by 26 companies, that were labeled “organic” but contained very few or even no organic ingredients whatsoever.
This isn’t the first time a “natural” beauty company has been accused of misrepresentation.
This isn’t the first time a “natural” beauty company has been accused of misrepresentation. In 2008, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps filed a suit charging its competitors, including Kiss My Face and Hains Celestial (which owns Jason and Avalon Organics), with deceptive marketing.
Want to see if the products named in the suit are on your bathroom shelf? Here is the full list of companies and their allegedly mislabeled products (Note: the products listed are just examples; CEH has identified many more mislabeled products from the companies):
CEH’S LIST OF MISLABELED ORGANIC PRODUCTS
Advantage Research Laboratories, Inc./Murray’s Worldwide, Inc.: Parnevu T-Tree No Lye Conditioning Relaxer System
Aubrey Organics, Inc: Collagen & Almond Enriching Moisturizing Lotion
Beauty Without Cruelty/Lotus Brands, Inc: Organic Aromatherapy Facial Cleanser
Boots Retail USA Inc: Boots Amazon Forest Brazil Nut & Vanilla Body Wash
California Inside & Out, Inc: Out of Africa Handwash Tea Tree with Essential Oil
Colomer U.S.A.: Crème of Nature Kiwi & Citrus Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo
Cosway Company, Inc/Head Organics Company: Clearly Head Conditioner
Curls, LLC: Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream Organic Shampoo
Derma E Natural Bodycare/Stearns Products, Inc: Psorzema Body Wash
Hain Celestial Group: Jason Thin-to-Thick Conditioner and Baby Avalon Organics Silky Cornstarch Baby Powder
House of Cheatham, Inc: Organics by Africa’s Best Hair Mayonnaise
International Trade Routes of New York, Inc/Laboratorios Phergal: Naturtint Green Technologies Permanent Hair Colorant
Kinky-Curly Hair Care: Kinky-Curly Spiral Spritz
Kiss My Face Corporation: Hold Up Styling Mousse
Lafe’s Natural BodyCare/Lafe T. Larson, Inc: Deodorant Stone With Holder
Morrocco Method, Inc: Euro Organic Oil Simply Pure Hair & Scalp Therapy
Namasté Laboratories: Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak
Nature’s Baby Products, Inc: Nature’s Baby Organics Shampoo & Body Wash in Vanilla-Tangerine Scent or Lavender-Chamomile Scent
Nubian Heritage Group/Sundial Group LLC: Coconut & Papaya with Vanilla Bean Extract Body Wash
Nutrition Resource, Inc. dba NutriBiotic: NutriBiotic Everyday Clean Conditioner Botanical Blend
Rainbow Research Corporation: Rainbow Baby Oh Baby Unscented Organic Herbal Shampoo
Renpure, LLC: Renpure Organics I Love My Hair! Body and Shine Shampoo
Strength of Nature Global, LLC: Elasta QP Intense Fortifying Hair Conditioning Treatment
Sundial Brands/Sundial Group LLC: Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo
The Himalaya Drug Company: Organique by Himalaya Toothpaste
Todd Christopher International, Inc/Vogue International: Hydrating Teatree Mint Conditioner
+ Center for Environmental Health