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Having lustrous, wavy locks of hair is not only the dream of dames but also of many men.
Men and women with voluminous and silky hair appearing in the hair care product commercials enchant many people with hair care issues. They fall for the magical promises given by the models and manufacturers. Are the manufacturers keeping up their promises? The growing number of hair loss lawsuits against beauty products tells you otherwise.
One such legal tangle is the Organix lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and OGX. Many of OGX products face lawsuits for having harmful ingredients like DMDM hydantoin and benzene, both belong to the class of carcinogens.
Let’s explore the origin and course of Organix lawsuits here in detail. For latest Organix lawsuit updates, keep in touch with our blog, as we update it often.
Snapshot of Johnson & Johnson and OGX
The New Jersey based pharmaceutical and healthcare product giant, Johnson & Johnson is a leading figure around the world. They branch out in three main sectors- pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer health products. They have 250 subsidiaries operating in and around 60 countries. Aveeno®, Listerine®, Johnson’s®, Neutrogena®, Tylenol®, and Band-aid® are only a few among their leading brands.
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. acquired Vogue International LLC and their OGX products line up in 2016 for a $3.3 billion.
According to Forbes, Vogue International was initially found in 1987 by Todd Christopher in Florida. He released his Organix series of products in 2006, after getting only minimal success with his other hair care brands. Organix provided customized hair care for people and shot to fame.
In 2011, Vogue International was sued by Center for Environmental Health (a nonprofit organization based in California). They alleged that the name Organix could mislead people that it was made of organic ingredients. It added that Organix did not meet the California standards to be labeled as organic. After battling the legal claim, Christopher rebranded Organix as OGX in 2013.
When Christopher started seeing the downside of sales, he sealed the deal with Johnson & Johnson.
J&J claim that the OGX products use natural ingredients like “coconut water, shea butter, argan oil, pomegranate and ginger to bring innovative salon-quality hair care and personal care products directly to consumers.”
OGX hair care products include shampoos, conditioners, dry shampoos, stylers like curling creams, styling sprays, treating products like keratin, biotin & collagen therapy, serums, hair oils, and so on.
OGX website proclaim that their products are safe and work gently on hair.
They claim that their products do not have any harmful ingredients as listed in their site.
However, the people who filed OGX lawsuit 2021 allege that OGX products contain harmful ingredients like formaldehyde and DMDM hydantoin. These substances lead to hair loss and scalp irritation issues.
Don’t think that Organix lawsuits are not the first group of lawsuits Johnson & Johnson encounters. It already faces numerous lawsuits for products- baby powder, drugs like Elmiron, Xarelto, Tylenol, Invokana and medical devices like power morcellators, transvaginal mesh, knee implants, and so on. Among these many of the lawsuits were already settled and for others J&J is still facing legal scrutiny.
Let’s see the focus of our discussion DMDM contamination and Organix lawsuits here in detail.
What is DMDM Hydantoin?
DMDM hydantoin is a formaldehyde donor used in cosmetic products as a preservative and antimicrobial agent to prevent mold and contamination. It also prolongs the shelf-life of products. Formaldehyde donors release a small quantity of formaldehyde when contacted with water.
Formaldehyde is naturally found in many foods like apple, banana, onion, carrot, spinach, and so on. When exposed to formaldehyde in smaller quantities, it won’t be dangerous. However, long and high exposure to formaldehyde can cause dermatitis, scalp irritation, hair loss and cancer.
Evidence for the Toxic Nature of DMDM & Formaldehyde
A Spanish study discovered that formaldehyde donors like DMDM can cause dermatitis and contact eczema for individuals with formaldehyde allergy. When these individuals are exposed to cosmetic products with formaldehyde donors, their allergy could become chronic.
A patch test reactivity study conducted by the Dutch researchers also reaffirmed this. Prolonged use of products with DMDM could cause contact dermatitis and skin rashes in people allergic to formaldehyde.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes DMDM hydantoin in the list of most common allergens in cosmetics.
The National Toxicology Program included formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that people exposed to formaldehyde for long could heighten the risk of miscarriage or other fertility issues.
The FDA has published the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) communication logs to Johnson & Johnson on the presence of DMDM in OGX products on 12/09/2021.
“1. Communications between the FDA and Johnson & Johnson or Vogue International about reports of injuries, including hair loss, associated with personal care products (such as OGX shampoo) containing DMDM. 2. Communications between the FDA and Johnson & Johnson or Vogue International about DMDM hydantoin and/or removing DMDM from personal care products, including shampoos and conditioners.”
OGX Class Action Lawsuits
The OGX lawsuit list of products under scrutiny are listed below:
La Wanda Renee Key
The first class action lawsuit was filed by Plaintiff La Wanda Renee Key from California on March 5, 2023 in the District court of northern district of California. It was a nation-wide class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the plaintiff and many others who suffered due to the OGX lawsuit products.
This Organix lawsuit alleges that “Johnson & Johnson labeled, advertised, promoted and sold the Products targeting both men and women who wanted smooth, shiny, soft, nourished, and healthy hair.”
The product’s label says in bold letters about the characteristics of OGX products like “nourishing, reviving, enhancing natural softness, and repairing damaged hair and leaving hair thicker, fully, and healthier.” However, the harmful ingredients in the products caused hair loss and scalp irritation to the plaintiff and a lot of other consumers.
By going through this class action complaint, it was evident that most of the OGX products contained DMDM.
The plaintiff wanted to stop the unlawful sales and marketing of the OGX products for the damages she sustained.
Plaintiff Larissa Whipple filed a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in the District court of Illinois on 06/07/21. It is filed on behalf of herself and other victims who suffered due to OGX branded Shampoo and Conditioner Products. This OGX formaldehyde lawsuit sues the manufacturer under false representation that “Products would smooth, nourish, soften, repair, and/or revive her hair.”
Ms. Whipple’s shampoo hair loss lawsuit alleged that after using OGX products Biotin + Collagen Shampoo and Conditioner, she experienced severe hair loss.
The products contained an ingredient, DMDM hydantoin. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen, which can cause adverse complications when absorbed by the skin.
The OGX shampoo lawsuit also asserted that the manufacturer had concealed the dangers of their products and failed to warn the consumers.
Johnson & Johnson misrepresented that the products include Argan Oil, Biotin and Collagen, Coconut Oil, Pomegranate, which would revive damaged and dry hair and makes the hair smooth and shine devoid it of frizzy and tangles.
Why was the OGX lawsuit dismissed?
In March 2022, both the DMDM hydantoin lawsuits were dismissed hinting at a possible secret settlement.
It is proved that the manufacturers knew the carcinogenic nature of DMDM hydantoin in 2012 itself. Johnson & Johnson knew of the adverse side effects of DMDM hydantoin and planned to remove it from its baby care products by 2013. In August 2012, it declared its plan to remove all harmful ingredients including formaldehyde and DMDM from its personal care products by the end of 2015.
However, when they acquired Vogue International and their OGX products later, they failed to remove the harmful DMDM hydantoin from OGX products.
It is only in September 2021, J&J declared that they would stop manufacturing their OGX products with DMDM. They added that they would reformulate the production of their products without the harmful formaldehyde donor. They have also informed that they were going to replace DMDM with Sodium Benzoate, a common food preservative, which was found naturally in cinnamon.
However, J&J is accused for not issuing an OGX shampoo recall to remove its products with DMDM already out in the market. They might be planning to reap benefits at the cost of the consumers’ safety.
If you check OGX products produced prior to September 2021, you could see DMDM in their product label as seen below.
Carr V. Johnson
In 2022, Carr V. Johnson filed an OGX class action lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York, which is still pending. As of September 2023, Status Conference proceedings were ongoing in the presence of Magistrate James R. Cho.
OGX is not only facing lawsuits for using DMDM in their products, but also for benzene. The below mentioned lawsuit alleges the use of high levels of benzene in OGX products as discovered by the independent laboratory, Valisure.
See what a hair stylist has to say on OGX products:
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On December 15, 2022, Plaintiff Marina Scott filed a class action in the district court of Northern District of Illinois. The Organix shampoo lawsuit alleged that OGX products had benzene, a known carcinogen. However, OGX had not listed benzene in their ingredients list.
She had purchased OGX Extra Strength Dry Shampoo Coconut Miracle Oil from a Walgreens store in Illinois. The product label said the product was safe to use and free from defects. However, it was proved that the product had benzene as a hidden ingredient. Had she known that the dry shampoo contained benzene, she would not have purchased that.
The Organix lawsuit purported that the manufacturers deceived her by omitting benzene from the ingredients list and misrepresenting a defective and dangerous product as safe for use.
This Organix lawsuit also points out that Valisure had tested the OGX brand products and found that their dry shampoo products had high levels of benzene. The report sent to the FDA by Valisure points out at the highest levels of benzene (3.98 parts per million) in the different batches of below noted OGX dry shampoo products.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services have determined benzene as the cause of cancer in human beings. The FDA listed benzene in the Class 1 solvent category, which should be avoided in the making of products due to its toxicity. The National Cancer Institute has found that benzene would cause blood cancer.
Other Shampoo Lawsuits
Like OGX, many other brands like Unilever, Olaplex and L’Oreal are facing hair care product lawsuits in the recent past. It hints that these manufacturers have compromised the consumer’s health for profit.
- Unilever- Dove, Nexxus, Suave, Tigi, Tresemme
- L’Oreal- Redkin
These products alleged to contain dangerous contaminants like benzene, DMDM hydantoin, Lilial and panthenol at higher concentration, which could harm the consumers by causing cancer, hair loss and other hair related issues.
OGX Lawsuit Allegations
The Organix lawsuits focus on three major areas of concern.
Defective Design: OGX products contained the harmful DMDM hydantoin, which is highly dangerous to the health of the consumers. Knowing the harmful nature of this ingredient, the manufacturer used it and marketed its shampoos and conditioners as safe.
Failure to Warn: People with formaldehyde sensitivity could encounter hair loss or scalp irritation issues. Despite knowing the risks, the manufacturers failed to warn the consumers of the hair loss risk. As manufacturers of daily care products, they have the duty to warn the consumers by adding the warning labels to their products.
False advertising: The OGX products were advertised as beneficial in nourishing, cleansing and repairing damaged hair. These false advertisements had drawn thousands of consumers towards the products finally landing them in danger.
To wrap things up,
Since the two initial class action on OGX hair loss claims reached confidential settlements, the pending lawsuit still gives hope for the plaintiffs of a settlement soon. The prospects of filing an OGX lawsuit depends or joining the class action lawsuit now is unclear.
Let’s hope, the recent whirlpool of hair care product lawsuits make the regulatory bodies to take stringent action to deter the manufacturers from making harmful products. The responsibility also lies on the shoulders of the consumers to be aware of the ingredients of the products they use.
Falling prey to captivating advertisements and their false promises may rewrite your destiny.
Think before you choose!
For latest OGX lawsuit 2023 updates, visit our page.
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