This class action lawsuit claims that the Kimberly-Clark Corporation falsely labeled Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes as being “natural,” “gentle,” “hypoallergenic,” and mad with the “simplest formula for a gentle clean,” when, in fact, they contain non-natural, synthetic chemical ingredients.
One plaintiff in this lawsuit, Brittany Sebastian, purchased of soft package of Huggies Natural Care wipes from a Target store in Encinitas, California, in late 2016 for $1.47. She purchased the product for personal and family use, relying upon Kimberly-Clark’s representations in making the decision to purchase the product. One of the most important qualities that Sebastian valued was the “natural” qualities of the product. Had she known the products contained non-natural ingredients, she would not have purchased the product at that price.
Kimberly-Clark manufactures, markets, promotes, advertises, and sells baby-care products, including under the “Huggies Natural Care” brand name. According to the huggies.com website, the Products are “America’s #1 branded baby wipe,” and are comprised of “gentle ingredients” for “sensitive skin.” Seeking to profit from consumers’ desire for safer and natural products free from synthetic and harmful ingredients, Kimberly-Clark markets and labels the Products as, among other things “natural,” “gentle” and “hypoallergenic.” Kimberly-Clark also advertises the Products as being “hypoallergenic, fragrance and alcohol free, with a touch of aloe and Vitamin E, these wipes feature our simplest formula ever for a gentle clean.”
Despite advertising the Products as being “natural,” “gentle,” “hypoallergenic” and made with a “simple formula,” the wipes actually contain non- natural, synthetic, and/or artificial ingredients, including phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, cocamidopropyl betaine, and sodium citrate. According to the FTC, phenoxyethanol is a preservative, which can depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea in infants. Furthermore, a May 2012 report from the French Agence Nationale de Securite du Medicament et des Produits de Sante cautioned consumers not to use wipes containing phenoxyethanol on children under the age of three because of health concerns related to “reproductive and developmental toxicity.” The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on phenoxyethanol states that it can cause skin and lung irritation, and that it may also be toxic to the kidneys, nervous system, and liver, and repeated, long-term exposure can cause organ damage. The MSDS further states that the toxic effects can occur through inhalation, skin exposure, and ingestion.
Based on the facts of the case, the plaintiffs allege the following violations: