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Clairol Balsam Color Health Risks Class Action Lawsuit

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This class action lawsuit claims that Clairol Balsam hair coloring dyes can have serious side effects that can harm the short term comfort and long term health of users.

            One plaintiff in this lawsuit, Carrie Bowens, purchased Clairol Balsam Color Black in 2016.  She performed the patch test as directed without incident.  In 2016, after reading the product instructions, Bowens used the product to dye her hair.  Within a few minutes of putting this product on her hair, she experienced a burning sensation and itching.  She washed the product out of her hair and within a few days she noticed that her hair began to fall out and get thinner and thinner.

            Proctor & Gamble has developed, designed, formulated, marketed, instructed on how to use, and sold Clairol hair dye products since 1956, when they were introduced under the brand name “Miss Clairol.”  In July of 2015, Proctor & Gamble announced the sale of 43 of its brands with Coty, Inc., including the “Clairol Balsam Color” brand.  In October 2016, the deal was finalized and valued at $12.5 billion.  The Clairol products are currently sold online and in retail shops including Amazon, Walgreens, Jet.com, Wal-Mart, and their own website Clairol.com.  The products are advertised as having a “luxurious formula,” “enriched with conditioning botanicals to coat each strang” that “softens hair,” “hydrates locks for soft silky hair,” that is “available in 16 shades,” and has “benefits” such as “conditioning botanicals,” “easy-to-use application,” and “permanent hair color.”

            Those benefits are not confirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has limited enforcement ability to regulate cosmetic companies.  Consumers rely upon the cosmetic manufacturers to produce safe products and advertise them correctly.  Clairol products contain an ingredient called PPD.  This substance was named “allergen of the year” by the American Contact Dermatitis Society in 2006.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists several links between PPD use/exposure and several acute and significant health problems, including the following:

  • significant hair loss;
  • skin and scalp irritation;
  • scalp burnings and blistering;
  • severe dermatitis;
  • eye irritation and tearing;
  • asthma;
  • gastritis;
  • renal damage and/or failure;
  • vertigo;
  • tremors, convulsions and comas; and
  • eczematoid contact dermatitis [in chronic (long-term) expose
  • situations].

Based on the facts of the case, the plaintiffs allege the following violations:

  • Unjust Enrichment
  • Violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
  • Breach of Express Warranty
  • Breach of Implied Warranty
  • Violation of the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act
  • Fraud
  • Negligent Design and Failure to Warn
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