The lawsuit claims that Johnson & Johnson’s “OGX” shampoos contained a carcinogenic chemical they had promised to eliminate from products by 2015.
A recently filed lawsuit alleges that Johnson & Johnson’s “OGX” line of shampoos may cause or accelerate hair loss.
According to FOX17, the lawsuit was filed earlier this week by Illinois resident Larissa Whipple.
Whipple, says FOX17, was inspired to try the shampoos because of their alluring promises to “nourish,” “smooth,” “revive,” and “soften” existing hair.
However, Whipple later discovered that one of the main ingredients in her OGX products is DMDM hydantoin, “a formaldehyde donor known to slowly leave formaldehyde when coming into contact with water.”
While DMDM hydantoin is sometimes used in cosmetics and hair care products, the ingredient has also been linked to “allergies, rashes, hair loss,” and even cancer.
FOX17 notes that the following Johnson & Johnson products have been marked as containing DMDM hydantoin:
- OGX Biotin + Collagen Shampoo and Conditioner
- OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo and Conditioner
- OGX Anti-Breakage and Keratin Oil Shampoo and Conditioner
- OGX Detox + Pomegranate & Ginger Shampoo and Conditioner
- OGX Marula Oil Conditioner
- OGX Extra Strength Hydrate & Repair
- Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo and Conditioner
By promising or appearing to promise that its products would foster healthier, stronger hair, Whipple’s lawsuit suggests that Johnson & Johnson may have violated federal consumer protection statutes.
“Johnson & Johnson made a number of affirmative misrepresentations: that the Products contain special formulas (e.g. ‘Argan Oil, Biotin and Collagen, Coconut Oil, Pomegranate’) intended to nourish and revive damaged or dry hair, add softness and shine, and prevent frizzing and tangling; and that the Products ‘deeply nourish,d [sic] ‘gently cleanse,’ and ‘repair hair,’” the lawsuit states. “However, the Products’ formula contains an ingredient, or combination of ingredients, that has caused Plaintiff and thousands of consumers to experience hair loss and/or scalp irritation.”
Furthermore, the lawsuit—which is a prospective class action—observes that Johnson & Johnson had earlier recognized the potential dangers of DMDM hydantoin. In fact, the company had promised to remove the chemical, and others like it, from all of its products by the end of 2015.
The lawsuit notes that Johnson & Johnson did make good on its promise.
However, after Johnson & Johnson acquired Vogue International and its OGX brand, the company did little to remove DMDM hydantoin from Vogue’s line-up.
“Johnson & Johnson did in fact remove DMDM hydantoin from existing consumer products at that time,” the lawsuit says. “However, when Johnson & Johnson acquired Vogue International, including their line of OGX products, Johnson & Johnson failed to change the ingredient profile of the products that did not maintain the same standards for consumer safety. Since 2016, Johnson & Johnson has continued to market, sell and profit off of the products that contain ingredients knew could harm consumers.”
This is at least the second class action to be filed against Johnson & Johnson’s OGX brand in 2021. Earlier this year, La Wanda Renee Key lodged a similar complaint in California court.
There, Key suggested that Johnson & Johnson negligently manufactured shampoos with DMDM hydantoin, a “known carcinogen” linked to hair loss.