The entities behind Coppertone sunscreen face a proposed class action that alleges the companies fraudulently pass off the products as containing only safe, mineral-based ingredients. In truth, according to the 30-page lawsuit, the following Coppertone sunscreens contain amounts of “harmful chemical-based ingredients” larger than or nearly equal to their active mineral content:
Coppertone Water Babies Mineral-Based Sunscreen Stick;
Coppertone Water Babies Mineral-Based Sunscreen Lotion;
Coppertone Kids Mineral-Based Sunscreen Lotion; and
Coppertone Sport Face Mineral-Based Sunscreen Lotion.
Filed against Bayer AG, Beiersdorf, Inc. and four others, the complaint claims the companies have “falsely, misleadingly, and deceptively” labeled the above-listed products in order to take advantage of consumers’ desire for mineral-based sunscreens. The suit avers the defendants have “reaped many millions of dollars” and “put profits over people” by fraudulently by using less-desirable chemicals as the active ingredient in their purportedly mineral-based sunscreens. Based on the defendants’ representations, consumers are led to think Coppertone’s mineral-based sunscreens are light on artificial ingredients and therefore better for the skin and overall health.
“Put differently,” the lawsuit reads, “reasonable consumers do not believe the Products contain any active synthetic chemical ingredients. This understanding is further reinforced by the fact that nearly all sunscreens on the market that are advertised as mineral or mineral-based contain only active mineral ingredients.”
The case goes so far as to allege that labeling any sunscreen as “mineral-based” when it contains any active chemical ingredients is “wholly misleading and deceptive.” As the lawsuit tells it, the Bayer and Beiersdorf defendants take this conduct a step further by claiming their Coppertone products are “mineral-based” when the percentage of active mineral ingredients in the sunscreens are “less than, or nearly equal to, the percentage of chemical active ingredients.” True mineral-based sunscreens are often comprised of “20-24%” active mineral ingredients, according to the case, which notes such products “do not contain any chemical active ingredients.”
The suit says that had the plaintiffs known certain Coppertone sunscreens contained active chemical ingredients in greater quantities than their mineral-based components, they would not have purchased the products. Among other damages, including monetary restitution and disgorgement of profits, the plaintiffs look for the court to issue an injunction ordering the defendants to stop labeling and marketing Coppertone mineral-based sunscreen in the manner alleged in the complaint.