A proposed class action claims “Reef-Friendly” Alba Botanica Hawaiian sunscreens made by The Hain Celestial Group are falsely advertised and mislabeled in that they contain chemicals known to be harmful to coral reefs.
The 24-page case in California federal court claims Hain has misled consumers by touting the sunscreens as “Reef-Friendly” or “Earth-Friendly” despite knowing that the products’ active ingredients include avobenzone and octocrylene, petrochemicals that have been banned in Hawaii over concerns that they are toxic to humans and marine life.
According to the complaint, consumers would not have purchased the Alba Botanica sunscreens, or would have paid less for them, had they known the purportedly “reef-friendly” products are not actually safe for coral reefs.
Per the lawsuit, octocrylene can “disrupt human hormones and have toxic impacts on a variety of aquatic organisms.” Avobenzone is an endocrine disruptor known to reduce coral’s ability to withstand rising ocean temperatures that can kill the organisms, according to the suit.
Per the case, Hain has sought to take advantage of eco-conscious consumers by labeling its Alba Botanica Hawaiian sunscreens as “Reef-Friendly” or “Earth-Friendly” and charging a premium price for the products. Nevertheless, the following “Reef Friendly” Alba Botanica Hawaiian sunscreens have allegedly been found to contain the harmful chemicals octocrylene and/or avobenzone:
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen Coconut Clear Spray 50
Alba Botanica Cool Sport Sunscreen Refreshing Clear Spray 50
Alba Botanica Kids Sunscreen Tropical Fruit Clear Spray 50
Alba Botanica Sensitive Sunscreen Fragrance Free Clear Spray 50
Alba Botanica Maximum Sunscreen Fragrance Free Clear Spray 70
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen Aloe Vera 30 (cream version)
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen Green Tea (cream version)
Alba Botanica Soothing Sunscreen Pure Lavender 45 (cream version)
Alba Botanica Kids Sunscreen Tropical Fruit 45 (cream version)
Alba Botanica Sport Sunscreen Fragrance Free 45 (cream version)
Alba Botanica Sweet Pea Sheer Shield Sunscreen 45 (cream version)
Alba Botanica Sensitive Sheer Shield Sunscreen 45 (cream version)
Alba Botanica Facial Sheer Shield Sunscreen 45 (cream version)
Alba Botanica Fast Fix Sun Stick 30
The lawsuit alleges that Hain, the entity responsible for developing, manufacturing, packaging, advertising, distributing and selling the Alba Botanica products, “knew or should have known” that the sunscreens were falsely advertised as reef-friendly yet displayed on their labels no statement indicating that some of their active ingredients could be harmful to coral reefs and marine life.
“Moreover, even if a reasonable consumer was to read the ingredient list, a reasonable consumer would not know whether octocrylene or avobenzone are in fact reef safe or not,” the complaint adds.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone in the U.S. who purchased any of the above-listed products for personal or household use (and not for resale) within the applicable statute of limitations period. A state-specific subclass has also been proposed for California residents.
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