A proposed class of consumers told a Missouri federal court last week that the manufacturer of Just for Men hair dye products did not warn consumers about burns and severe allergies they could suffer from prolonged use of the products.
The Just for Men labels tell consumers that they should do a spot test of the product on their skin before wider use, but the directions are not clear and the potential side effects are not disclosed, Law360 reports. Side effects are not always evident through the spot test or from first use, but can come about after repeated use of the products, according to the legal complaint.
Combe, the manufacturer, “knew or should have known that Just For Men products create an unnecessary risk of burns, scarring, allergic reactions, anaphylactic shock, skin depigmentation, and other severe injuries,” according to the lawsuit. “In omitting, concealing, and inadequately providing critical safety information regarding the use of Just For Men in order to induce its purchase and use, [Combe] engaged in and continues to engage in conduct likely to mislead consumers,” according to Law360.
Just For Men contains p-Phenylenediamine, or PPD, a chemical recognized by global public health authorities as having significant potential for adverse reactions, and more than five percent of the population will have one of these reactions, the complaint said.
Combe’s recommended skin patch test instructions do not explain the potential risks and asks consumers to test their arm to check for allergic reactions. However, for accurate results consumers can’t bathe, wear long sleeve shirts, sweat or do anything else that might disturb the test area for 48 hours —unreasonable conditions, according to the suit. “The burden to comply with defendants’ version of an allergy test is too high and essentially unfeasible. The risk of accidental contamination renders the ‘test’ useless.”
The proposed class also argues that, given high rates of allergic reaction and the potential severity of those reactions, Combe should have looked into other, proven methods of hair coloring and dye. PPD has an even higher rate of allergic reaction in certain population groups, but the company has not warned these groups of their increased susceptibility, according to Law360.
“Just For Men products have an unacceptable and unreasonable rate of adverse reaction in the general population,” according to the lawsuit. “Further, the unacceptable and unreasonable rate of adverse reaction is even higher in certain population groups, such as African American men.”
The proposed class seeks to certify Missouri consumers who bought the product for personal use. They brought the suit under Missouri’s medical monitoring law, which allows for suits even if the injury has not yet occurred, according to Law360.