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W&L Files Class Action Lawsuits for PFAS in Mascara

April 27, 2022
Home Firm News W&L Files Class Action Lawsuits for PFAS in Mascara

Weitz & Luxenberg is filing class action lawsuits against cosmetic companies because their waterproof mascaras contain dangerous chemicals. Several lawsuits have been filed since the end of February.

Lawsuits have already been filed against L’Oreal USA, Inc., in addition to Cover Girl Cosmetics and Coty, Inc. And our attorneys plan on filing more.

According to our complaints filed, the largest cosmetics companies in the world intentionally fail to disclose to consumers that popular waterproof mascara products contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). This is despite the fact they knew or should have known that this information is material to consumers.

Our lawsuits allege our clients paid more for and used a cosmetic product, believing it was safe. The manufacturers hid the fact it contained dangerous chemicals.

Cosmetics Misleads Customers

Our complaints emphasize these large companies didn’t just sell and distribute cosmetic products containing known toxic chemicals, but outright mislead consumers. The manufacturers, “represent their” waterproof mascaras were safe, effective, high quality, and appropriate for use on consumers’ eyelashes.”

At least one company did not inform its customers PFAS “can have adverse effects on humans and can bioaccumulate” in their bodies. Or that these chemicals are present in the company’s waterproof mascaras. “Even very low levels of PFAS can be toxic to humans.”

These toxins don’t have to be swallowed. Simply applying them to the skin can lead to absorption. The risk is even greater when “PFAS are applied near the eyes.”

PFAS Are Toxic

PFAS are human-made, synthetic chemicals. They do not exist naturally in the environment. Numerous industries have used them for decades in industrial processing. Manufacturers have added them to consumer, household, and commercial products.

Proponents of PFAS tout their benefits as: heat and stain resistant; long-lasting; and water, oil, and grease repellent. Companies have used PFAS to produce carpets, clothing, furniture fabrics, food paper packaging, and cookware.

“Manufacturers may dismiss the dangers of PFAS exposure, but the medical and scientific literature is clear,” says James Bilsborrow, a partner at W&L and co-chair of our Environmental, Toxic Tort & Consumer Protection group. “These chemicals are harmful to both humans and animals. They can interfere with a child’s learning, behavior, and growth. They can reduce a woman’s chance of getting pregnant, interfere with the body’s natural hormones, increase cholesterol levels, elevate liver enzymes, increase uric acid levels, and disrupt our immune system.”

Mr. Bilsborrow continues, “Even more concerning, PFAS can lead to many types of cancer and other diseases — testicular and kidney cancers, thyroid disease, heart disease, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and pregnancy-induced hypertension. PFAS are definitely not chemicals we want to use on our bodies.”

Making Billions Off Cosmetic Consumers

“In addition to concerns about the hazardous chemicals themselves is the amount of money large cosmetics companies make through misleading customers,” says Devin Bolton, a fellow W&L attorney.

“For example, L’Oreal generates more than $7 billion dollars in sales each year. That amount of money is in the U.S. alone. The company may say its mission is to bring ‘innovative, effective, high-quality products to our consumers around the world,’ but our clients in this case beg to differ,” Ms. Bolton adds. “

Cosmetic Companies Need To Be Held Accountable

According to the complaints, the packaging, labeling, and ingredient lists of the waterproof mascaras contained misrepresentations and omissions regarding the dangerous chemical.

Consumers were misled into purchasing the waterproof mascara products. If they had known the truth about the presence of PFAS, they would not have purchased them at all or would have paid less for those products.

“That is the crux of the case,” Ms. Bolton continues. “Cosmetics companies need to be held accountable for all of the money they have made through misleading advertising. This is particularly true if a company claims its products are safe and effective when, in fact, they contain dangerous chemicals.”

W&L Help Clients Exposed to Dangerous Chemical

The team of attorneys at W&L has won more than $19 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. This includes multiple settlements for clients exposed to dangerous chemicals.

These settlements include a $23 million class settlement in Petersburgh, New York and one for $65.25 million in Hoosick Falls, New York. Mr. Bilsborrow was co-lead class counsel in both cases.

Ms. Bolton worked for years on a case for clients affected by toxic chemicals from a natural gas leak blowout near Los Angeles, California. She, along with colleagues, earned a $1.8 billion dollars settlement.

Contact us if you purchased these dangerous mascara products, to learn if you can join our class action lawsuits.

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