Landmark Legal Agreements Set Truth-in-Labeling Standard for Organic Personal Care Products

 Oakland, CA-The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) today announced it has reached legal agreements with eleven producers of national brand hair care and other personal care products in the first-ever lawsuits settled under the California Organic Production Act (COPA).

Earlier this year, CEH purchased “organic” labeled personal care products from national retailers including Target, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Whole Foods and other stores, and in June filed lawsuits against more than two dozen companies for products that violated California law, which requires “organic” labeled personal care products to contain at least 70% organic ingredients. The legal agreements certified by the Alameda County Superior Court yesterday call on the companies to comply with COPA, either by increasing their use of organic ingredients or changing their labels, and to make their organic ingredient records available to CEH for inspection. Given the size of the California market, CEH expects the settlements will effect products nationwide.

“This is a victory for organic consumers who deserve to get what they pay for when they buy “organic” labeled personal care products,” said Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH. “We expect all companies with improper organic labels to agree to these terms and comply with the law on the same timeline.” The settlements with the eleven companies call for their products manufactured after March 31, 2012 to be in compliance with COPA. On or before that date the companies will make available to CEH information on their labeling codes, so the nonprofit can identify which products were made following the compliance date.

CEH has pending lawsuits remaining against 23 other companies that sell products in violation of COPA. While the Center is hopeful for a similar agreement with many of these companies, some companies have resisted a resolution that would offer truthful labels to consumers. Brands sold in national stores that have yet to commit to truthful labels include:

  • Vogue International “Organix” brand hair care and other products: the company uses the term “organic” as well as the brand name “Organix” in large type on the front label on products that contain few or no organic ingredients.
  • Namaste Laboratories “Organic Root Stimulator” hair care and other products: the company uses the word “Organic” in large type (as part of the brand name) on products that contain no organic ingredients.
  • Strength of Nature Global “Elasta QP” brand hair care products: the company uses the term “organic” on the front label of products that contain no organic ingredients.

In some cases, “organic” labeled products from the companies contain synthetic ingredients suspected of causing serious health problems. For example, an Organic Root Stimulator Girls Olive Oil No-Lye Conditioning Relaxer System, a product marketed to young children, contains ingredients linked to birth defects, hormone altering effects, and skin allergies. Package warnings on this “organic” product read “Keep away from eyes. Can cause blindness.”

CEH has a fifteen-year track record of protecting communities from the health impacts of toxic pollution and has uncovered toxic health threats to children from wood playground structures, toys, vinyl baby bibs and lunchboxes, imported candies, children’s jewelry, children’s medicines, and many other products. CEH also works with major industries and leaders in green business to promote healthier alternatives to toxic products and practices. Last year the San Francisco Business Times bestowed its annual “Green Champion” award to CEH for its work to improve health and the environment in the Bay Area and beyond.

-30-

We now have settlements with more than 40 companies to end their use of false organic labels. See the full list here.

Boots (Boots brand)

Kiss My Face

E.T. Brown (Palmer’s Olive Oil Formula brand)

Pacifica

At Last Naturals (Lucky Tiger brand)

Himalaya (Organique brand)

RenPure

Suki (Sukiface brand)

Stearns (derma e® brand)

Cosway (Head Organics brand)

Colomer (Crème of Nature brand)

List of 23 companies with pending complaints

Advantage Research Laboratories, Inc./Murray’s Worldwide, Inc. (Parnevu® brand)

All Natural Distributors Inc. (Tints of Nature brand)

Aubrey Organics, Inc.

Beauty Without Cruelty/Lotus Brands, Inc.

California Inside & Out, Inc. (Out of Africa® brand)

Curls LLC

Episencial LLC

Hain Inc (Jason brand)

Herb UK Limited (Tints of Nature brand)

House of Cheatham, Inc. (Organics by Africa’s Best brand)

International Trade Routes of New York, Inc/Laboratorios Phergal, S.A. (Naturtint® brand)

Jean Pierre Inc. (Blum® Naturals brand)

Kinky-Curly Hair Care, LLC

Lafe’s Natural BodyCare, Inc/Lafe T. Larson, Inc.

Lamas, Inc. (Peter Lamas brand)

Morrocco Method, Inc.

Namasté Laboratories, L.L.C. (Organic Root Stimulator brand)

Nature’s Baby Products, Inc.

Nubian Heritage Group LLC/Sundial Brands LLC (SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage brands)

Nutrition Resource, Inc. dba NutriBiotic (NutriBiotic® brand)

Rainbow Research Corporation (Rainbow Baby Oh Baby® brand)

Strength of Nature Global, LLC (Elasta QP® brand)

Todd Christopher International, Inc. dba Vogue International (Organix brand)