Burt’s Bees Lipstick, Mascara Contains Harmful ‘Forever Chemicals,’ Class Action Claims
by Erin Shaak
Barrett et al. v. The Clorox Company et al.
Filed: April 7, 2022 ◆§ 3:22-cv-02193
A class action claims that certain Burt’s Bees products are falsely advertised as clean and natural even though they contain undisclosed, harmful PFAS.
California Business and Professions Code California Unfair Competition Law California Consumers Legal Remedies Act Georgia Fair Business Practices Act Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act
A proposed class action claims that certain Burt’s Bees products are falsely advertised as clean and natural even though they contain undisclosed, harmful per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
The 66-page case filed April 7 alleges The Clorox Company, Burt’s Bees, Inc. and The Burt’s Bees Product Company have misleadingly advertised certain cosmetics, including, but not limited to, the Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer, Lip Shine, Nourishing Mascara, Satin Lipstick and Matte Stick products, as clean, conscious, 100-percent natural, free of “chemicals of concern” and environmentally sustainable.
Per the suit, however, these products, and possibly others, contain harmful PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” that can cause various adverse health effects in humans.
According to the lawsuit, reasonable consumers would not have purchased the Burt’s Bees products, or would not have paid as much for them, had they known the cosmetics contained toxic PFAS.
The case claims that the defendants have advertised the Burt’s Bees lip and eye items as “100% natural” in an attempt to capitalize on consumer demand for “clean” beauty products. The suit alleges that the undisclosed presence of PFAS in the cosmetics is “entirely inconsistent” with Burt’s Bees’ marketing campaign and has allowed the defendants to unfairly maximize sales revenue by misleading consumers with respect to the quality of and ingredients in their products.
Per the lawsuit, testing has shown that the aforementioned Burt’s Bees lip and eye products contain undisclosed PFAS, which the suit stresses have been known to cause “a variety of negative health effects” for humans and damage to the environment. As the case tells it, a characteristic common to PFAS is their carbon-fluoride bonds, which are “one of the strongest in nature” and make the chemicals highly persistent in both the environment and human bodies.
The lawsuit argues that the presence of PFAS in cosmetic products such as those mentioned on this page is of “particular concern” given the makeup is meant to be applied to the eye and mouth areas, which could increase a wearer’s risk of exposure to the toxic chemicals.
The case contends that the defendants’ failure to disclose the presence of PFAS on product labels or “in any other manner” makes the companies’ allegedly misleading marketing of the cosmetics “even more egregious.” According to the suit, consumers who purchased the items have received “something worth less than what they paid for,” and were robbed of the benefit of their bargain.
“They paid for the PFAS Products, which was [sic] supposed to be clean and natural, but they received neither,” the complaint alleges.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone in the U.S. who, within the fullest period allowed by law, purchased one of the Burt’s Bees products listed on this page, or any other Burt’s Bees product that contained PFAS.
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