Parker Waichman LLP

Whole Foods, Other Firms Sued for Carcinogen in “Natural” Soap

California’s state attorney general—Jerry Brown—filed suit against four manufacturers—Whole Foods Market Inc., Avalon Natural Products, Beaumont Products Inc., and NutriBiotic—for failing to label soap products containing 1,4-dioxane, a potentially cancer-causing chemical.  The suit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court in late May and did not name the specific body washes, gels, and liquid dish […]

California’s state attorney general—Jerry Brown—filed suit against four manufacturers—Whole Foods Market Inc., Avalon Natural Products, Beaumont Products Inc., and NutriBiotic—for failing to label soap products containing <"https://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">1,4-dioxane, a potentially cancer-causing chemical.  The suit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court in late May and did not name the specific body washes, gels, and liquid dish soaps that allegedly contain 1,4-dioxane.  Under Proposition 65, companies must label products that contain chemicals known to the state to cause cancer.  Each violation carries civil penalties of as much as $2,500 a day.

1,4-Dioxane is a petroleum-derived contaminant considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a definite animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program.  It is also on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected by the state to cause cancer or birth defects.

This week, Deputy Attorney General Susan Fiering said, “We’ve been talking with all four of them and we’re hoping that the end result of this is an effort to reformulate to get the dioxane out of the product.  We think that would be the best possible result for everyone.”  Eighteen other companies were also warned that some of their products contained the chemical, Fiering said.

Libba Letton, spokeswoman for Whole Foods, said, “We have conducted our own investigation into the allegations that some of our products contain 1,4-dioxane and do not believe these products represent a health risk or are in excess of California’s Proposition 65 safe harbor level for 1,4-dioxane.  We’re cooperating with the attorney general’s office to resolve the claims as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, last month, Stephen Sundlof, head of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, which oversees cosmetics, urged lawmakers to focus on risky products and better use of private inspections.  Democrats said the FDA has even less power over cosmetic products, which have gone largely unregulated for decades—the industry is overseen by rules enacted 70 years ago and the FDA has only reviewed 11 percent of related ingredients and banned or restricted only 10 types that posed safety risks.  About $62 billion in personal products are sold in the US annually and the number of imported products has tripled since 2000 and is expected to grow, said Sundlof who also acknowledged that regulating cosmetics has become a challenge as more products “straddle the line between cosmetics and drugs.”

“I think improving oversight authority of cosmetics is long overdue,” said Representative Jan Schakowsky (Illinois-Democrat).  Sundlof acknowledged only one-third of all US cosmetic makers are registered with the FDA and said companies are responsible for ensuring safety before marketing products.  Unlike drugs or devices, cosmetics are not approved by the FDA prior to being placed on the market.

And, earlier this year, we reported that women are believed to apply about 175 chemicals from creams and cosmetics to their skin daily.  And, while we don’t generally worry about using over-the-counter (OTC) creams, some can cause adverse reactions and death in some people.  Skin is designed to protect the body; however, when strong chemicals meet sensitive or thin skin, they can cause an allergic reaction, or dangerously flood the bloodstream.

What Our Clients Say About Us
We have worked with thousands of clients and we appreciate them and their positive reviews. Here are just a few recent client reviews...
5 Star Reviews 150
Tina Morace provided me excellent support throughout the application process. She provided me with valuable follow-up on questions and any actions needed on my part. You have a valued employee with Tina
Joe Sinopoli
2 months ago
5 Star Reviews 150
Hi my name is Jillian and I was represented by Michelle Josama and she was absolutely fantastic she is approachable she’s cordial she’s respectful knowledgeable and she gets the job done if anyone needs someone to represent them Michelle Josama is the one thank you so much Michelle and God bless you you’re doing a great work
Gillian Doeman
4 years ago
5 Star Reviews 150
Working with Julia & Joanne at Parker & Waichman. Julia and Joanne were very helpful throughout the process and took good care of me. All of my questions were always answered and they always communicated with me, phone calls were always returned right away if they could not answer. I was recommended by my friend and would definitely recommend them. Thank you for all of your help Julia, Joanne and all of the Parker Waichman family.
Tusha Ramsaroop
5 years ago

Why Choose Us to Help You?

We Take Care of Everything
Your situation is stressful enough: Let us take on the deadlines, paperwork, investigation, and litigation. We'll handle every detail so you don't have to worry.
No Recovery = No Legal Fees
We work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that we only get paid from a portion of your settlement or jury award. If you don't get compensation, you owe us nothing.
Decades of Experience
Your situation is stressful enough: Let us take on the deadlines, paperwork, investigation, and litigation. We'll handle every detail so you don't have to worry.
Respected by Our Peers
Judges, insurance adjusters, and fellow attorneys all speak highly of our skills, and we've earned numerous accolades, including a flawless rating from AVVO.
We Have Many Locations To Serve You
We have the experience and the skilled litigators to win your case. Contact us and speak with a real attorney who can help you.
Long Island – Nassau
Parker Waichman LLP
6 Harbor Park Drive
Port Washington, NY 11050
Long Island – Suffolk
Parker Waichman LLP
201 Old Country Road – Suite 145
Melville, NY 11747
New York
Parker Waichman LLP
59 Maiden Lane, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10038
Queens
Parker Waichman LLP
118-35 Queens Boulevard, Suite 400
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Brooklyn
Parker Waichman LLP
300 Cadman Plaza West
One Pierrepont Plaza, 12th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
New Jersey
Parker Waichman LLP
80 Main Street, Suite 265
West Orange, NJ 07052
Florida
Parker Waichman LLP
27299 Riverview Center Boulevard
Suite 108
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Nationwide Service
Parker Waichman LLP
59 Maiden Lane, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10038