Injuries Caused by Cosmetic Products

Posted on March 4, 2021

The last thing in your home you may expect to injure you is your cosmetic products. Defective makeup and personal care items, however, have faced thousands of product liability lawsuits over the years. Cosmetics can contain many dangerous ingredients, such as lead and chemicals, that lead to serious health issues. If you believe you have an injury caused by a cosmetic product, find out how to protect your rights.

Products That Have Affected Consumers and Face Lawsuits

Cosmetic products have long been a cause of consumer lawsuits in California and throughout the US. The cosmetics industry is enormous, with hundreds of thousands of different products sourced to consumers. Many different products have had negative health effects on consumers and lead to lawsuits. You may have grounds for a lawsuit if any type of cosmetic or hygiene product injured you: 

  • Bath products
  • Face and eye makeup
  • Feminine products
  • Fragrances
  • Hair dyes
  • Hair products
  • Henna tattoos
  • Lipstick
  • Lotions
  • “Organic” cosmetics 
  • Permanent makeup (tattoos)
  • Self-tanners
  • Sunblock
  • Talcum powder (baby powder)

Defective cosmetic products may contain dangerous ingredients, fail to list all ingredients, fail to warn consumers about known related risks, misrepresent facts or have incorrect expiration dates. Cosmetic brands that are currently facing lawsuits for allegedly defective products include Johnson & Johnson, Unilever (parent company of St. Ives), Coty, EOS, Avon, Estee Lauder, Sephora, and Rodan & Fields.

How the FDA Regulates Cosmetic Products

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) heavily regulates most products that go to consumers. Under federal law, however, cosmetic products and their ingredients do not need FDA safety approval before they go to market, with a few exceptions. Instead, it is the cosmetic company’s legal responsibility to ensure safe products. Unfortunately, a lack of FDA regulation has led to many companies releasing dangerous and defective products.

Health Issues Caused by Cosmetic and Personal Hygiene Products

Cosmetics, self-care and hygiene products with dangerous chemicals or ingredients can have adverse health effects on consumers. Years of using these products can lead to a buildup of toxins within the body that can cause health issues, including birth defects in pregnant women. In other cases, a defective cosmetic product may cause an immediate reaction, such as a skin rash. Consumers have filed complaints regarding many different health issues caused by cosmetics over the years:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Asbestos-related problems (e.g. mesothelioma, asbestosis)
  • Asthma
  • Birth defects
  • Breast cancer
  • Cellular damage and cancer
  • Hair loss
  • Illnesses from toxic ingredients
  • Infertility
  • Liver, kidney and other organ damage
  • Respiratory problems
  • Skin irritation and damage

Cosmetics involved in product liability lawsuits in Los Angeles may contain ingredients that are likely to cause adverse health reactions, such as man-made chemicals, lead, fragrance, latex, parabens, formaldehyde, aluminum, plastics, pesticides, hydroxy acids, color additives, asbestos and phthalates. If a cosmetic company is not transparent about the ingredients used, or if it uses ingredients with known health risks without warning customers, it could be liable for related health issues.

What You Can Do If You Have a Health Issue Caused by a Cosmetic Product

If you are the victim of a defective cosmetic or hygiene product, you may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit against the company. To win this type of lawsuit, you or your personal injury lawyer will need to prove that you used the item as the manufacturer intended, the item contained a defect, and the defect caused your injury or illness.

With a strict liability lawsuit, you will not need to prove the defendant knew or should have known the product was dangerous. You will only need to prove the item contained a harmful defect. In a negligence case, however, your lawyer will need to establish a breach of the duty of care by the cosmetics manufacturer. 

Filing a product liability lawsuit can expose dangerous practices within a cosmetics company. This could force the company to change its procedures, potentially saving other consumers. A successful suit could also repay you for losses such as medical bills, physical pain, emotional distress and legal fees. Discuss whether you have a case with an attorney today. 

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