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Johnson and Johnson Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Hair Care Products Allegedly Causing Baldness

— July 15, 2021

A lawsuit was recently filed over Johnson & Johnson OGX shampoos and conditioners that are allegedly causing hair loss and scalp irritation.

Johnson & Johnson OGX shampoos and conditioners are at the center of a class-action lawsuit over claims that the manufacturer “falsely advertised the hair products as safe, while concealing information consumers may be exposed to formaldehyde and other ingredients which could cause hair loss and other injuries.” 

A bottle of Johnson & Johnson shampoo. Image via Flickr/user:georgeyk. (CCA-BY-2.0).

The suit was originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by Larissa Whipple on June 7. It is seeking class-action status and damages on behalf of “all consumers nationwide who purchased variations of OGX shampoos and conditioners, indicating Johnson & Johnson made misleading and false statements about the benefits purportedly offered by the products while failing to warn consumers they may be exposed to cancer-causing ingredients.”

According to the allegations, certain Johnson & Johnson OGX Shampoo and/or Conditioner products contain DMDM hydantoin as an ingredient. “DMDM hydantoin is an antimicrobial formaldehyde known to cause reactions including itchiness, red rashes on the skin brittle hair, loss of hair, and even dermatitis,” the suit states

Whipple further alleges that the products in question “are marketed nationwide with false and misleading marketing and labeling claims, specifically touting on the product labeling that the OGX line of shampoos and conditioners nourish, revive, enhance and repair damaged hair, making it healthier and thicker.” It turns out, however, that the products may not be all that great for hair and is instead exposing customers to DMDM hydantoin ingredients.” This is causing some consumers to experience allergic reactions, scalp and skin irritation, and hair loss. 

Additionally, the suit points out that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) “classified formaldehyde as a human carcinogen in 2011…and the National Toxicology Program of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) named formaldehyde as a known and definite carcinogen to humans.”

The allegations further argue that Johnson & Johnson “was or should have been fully aware of DMDM hydantoin risks to consumers, stating the manufacturer announced plans to remove DMDM hydantoin from all products by 2015.” However, even as the company acquired Vogue International, which included the line of OGX products, Johnson & Johnson “failed to change the ingredient profile and continued to sell OGX shampoos and conditioners containing DMDM hydantoin.” Because of that, the suit claims the company “falsely advertised benefits of using the line of products, as part of an effort to increase profits by maintaining a false superiority over alternative shampoos, while concealing DMDM hydantoin risks.”

Not only is the suit seeking class-action status to represent individuals across the country who may have experienced hair loss, scalp irritation, and other issues, but the suit includes claims of fraud, so it is seeking punitive damages. The suit claims the company is guilty of malice and reckless disregard for consumer safety.


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