The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched an investigation into a hair care products company after getting the largest number of adverse event reports “ever associated with any cosmetic hair cleansing product."
The FDA had received at least 127 reports of adverse events and found more than 21,000 complaints from consumers about WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner products. Chaz Dean is a Hollywood hair stylist whose A-list clients have included Brooke Shields, Alyssa Milano, and Christina Applegate.
The FDA has inspected the WEN manufacturing and distribution facilities but has yet to determine a possible cause for the adverse events that have been reported. FDA investigators have asked WEN to provide additional data to help them “better understand the reports of hair loss associated with the use” of their products.
Eight months before the FDA started investigating, more than 200 people -- mostly women -- in 40 states joined in a class action lawsuit in California Federal Court against the hair care company, claiming that the products can cause severe hair damage, including bald spots, rashes, irritation, hair loss, dryness, and breakage. In addition to the class action suit, multiple individual lawsuits have been filed against WEN in recent years.
The lawsuit alleges the hair conditioners "contain one or more active ingredients that act as a depilatory or caustic agent, causing a chemical reaction that damages the hair strands and/or follicle."
Even a member of congress is concerned about the number of complaints. The ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, sent letters to the FDA and the company demanding answers about the situation.
"Consumers deserve to know that they are making safe choices when they purchase cosmetics," Pallone said in a news release. "Unfortunately, since popular cosmetics and personal care products are largely unregulated before they reach the marketplace, these products can contain harmful chemicals that have the potential to put consumers at risk.”
In addition to Pallone, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine are pushing the bipartisan Personal Care Products Safety Act that would update the 80-year-old Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act.
WEN has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2008 and has an A+ rating. More than 750 complaints against WEN hair care were closed in the last three years, including 270 in the last year, the BBB states.
Earlier this year another consumer product suit was settled against EOS lip balm. The suit claimed the balm, which comes in a distinctive ball-shaped applicator, caused severely cracked, bleeding, blistering and flaking lips that required medical attention.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a consumer product, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.