A proposed class action claims the label of Maximum Strength Selsun Blue antidandruff shampoo is misleading in that it fails to disclose the product can cause scalp irritation and hair loss.
Per the 17-page case, consumers are misled by representations that Selsun Blue “helps prevent and eliminate itchy scalp & visible flakes” and are unaware that the product contains DMDM hydantoin and selenium sulfide, which are known to cause scalp irritation and hair loss.
“Nowhere did Defendant disclose to Plaintiff and other purchasers of its Maximum Strength Selsun Blue products that its products contained chemical compounds that could exacerbate scalp irritation and/or cause hair loss,” the complaint, filed in Illinois federal court, reads. “Had Defendant accurately disclosed such information, Plaintiff and the other members of the Class would not have purchase [sic] Defendant’s products, or paid significantly less for them.”
The lawsuit alleges defendant Sanofi-Aventis U.S., LLC has capitalized on the “massive market” for products that treat dandruff, i.e., the flaking of the skin on the scalp, by marketing and selling its Maximum Strength Selsun Blue line of “antidandruff” shampoos. Per the case, the defendant represents directly on the products’ label that the shampoo “helps prevent and eliminate itchy scalp & visible flakes.”
The suit claims, however, that the label on bottles of Selsun Blue fails to disclose that the shampoo also contains two ingredients that may exacerbate scalp itch and irritation or even cause hair loss. One ingredient in the product is selenium sulfide, a chemical that, according to the case, is “well known to cause increased scalp irritation and, critically, hair loss.”
Maximum Strength Selsun Blue also contains the preservative DMDM hydantoin, a “formaldehyde donor” that slowly releases the toxic chemical, the lawsuit continues. Although consumers may not recognize DMDM hydantoin, they would likely be familiar with formaldehyde and recognize it as a “toxic chemical,” the suit contends. According to the case, DMDM hydantoin has been shown to cause skin irritation, and as much as eight percent of the population experiences allergic reactions when using skin care products that contain formaldehyde.
The lawsuit asserts that a slew of online complaints “make clear” that Maximum Strength Selsun Blue has been associated with scalp irritation and hair loss in thousands of consumers. Despite being aware of customers’ experiences, the defendant has failed to include any warning or notice on its shampoo bottles that disclose that the products may not be able to provide the advertised benefits, and could in fact exacerbate scalp irritation, the case says.
The plaintiff, an Illinois resident, says she purchased Maximum Strength Selsun Blue to help eliminate dandruff and treat her dry scalp. After viewing the representations on the product’s label and finding no warnings with regard to possible side effects or that the shampoo contained formaldehyde, the plaintiff “reasonably believed” the Selsun Blue product was safe and would work as advertised with no adverse effects, the case states.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff began experiencing further scalp irritation after she began using the product. Moreover, her hair became dry and brittle and began to break off, resulting in “significant hair loss,” the suit says. Once the plaintiff stopped using the Selsun Blue product, she soon experienced no further hair loss, the lawsuit relays.
The case claims consumers have been misled by the representations on Sanofi’s Maximum Strength Selsun Blue bottles and would not have purchased the products, or would have paid less, had they known the shampoo would not work as advertised and even posed “an undisclosed risk of harm.”
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone in the U.S. who purchased the defendant’s Maximum Strength Selsun Blue products within the applicable statute of limitations period, as well as a subclass of those who did so in Illinois within the past three years.
Note: As with most class actions, there’s nothing you need to do to join the lawsuit at this time. If the case moves forward and settles, that’s when those affected would be given an opportunity to claim whatever compensation the court deems appropriate.
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