Church & Dwight Co. has been hit with a proposed class action after some of its Batiste-brand dry shampoos were reportedly found to be contaminated with “dangerously high” levels of benzene, a carcinogen that has been linked to leukemia and other cancers.
The 24-page case alleges that the presence of benzene in certain Batiste dry shampoo products, including the Bare and Clean & Bare varieties, renders them adulterated and misbranded and therefore illegal to sell under federal and state law.
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Additionally, the filing claims that Church & Dwight Co. has failed to disclose to consumers that its products contain benzene, as the dry shampoos’ ingredient lists make no mention of the “poisonous and deleterious substance.” The case claims consumers would not have purchased the products, or would not have paid as much for them, had they known the dry shampoo contained benzene.
“If Defendant had fulfilled its quality assurance obligations, Defendant would have identified the presence of the benzene contaminant almost immediately,” the lawsuit charges.
Per the complaint, benzene is a petrochemical found in crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke, and it is widely recognized as a harmful carcinogen by scientific authorities such as the National Toxicology Program, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and World Health Organization (WHO). The complaint relays that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes benzene as a Class 1 solvent, a solvent known to cause unacceptable toxicities, but allows for drug products to contain benzene at concentrations less than two parts per million (ppm), and only if its use is “unavoidable.”
However, Valisure, an independent laboratory, recently petitioned the FDA after finding that certain dry shampoo products, including some of the Batiste varieties at issue, contained as much as 14.9 ppm of benzene, the filing relays. According to the suit, Valisure conducted its tests by directly sampling contaminated air after spraying the dry shampoo products, “which suggests potential for short- and long-term inhalation exposure to high levels of benzene,” especially since these products are regularly used indoors and in large volumes.
“In addition, Valisure tested multiple other brands of dry shampoo products, several of which were found to be ‘below the lower limit of quantitation,’ demonstrating that the Products could have been manufactured without the use of benzene,” the case reads. “Accordingly, any level of benzene in Defendants’ Products is unacceptable and renders the Products adulterated, misbranded, unsafe, and worthless.”
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone in the United States who purchased Batiste dry shampoos for personal or household use during the applicable statute of limitations period.
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Camp Lejeune residents now have the opportunity to claim compensation for harm suffered from contaminated water.