L’Oréal Slapped With Lawsuit

We assume this product isn't part of the lawsuit. Photo: Courtesy of L'Oreal


It's been a tough week over at the L'Oréal headquarters. Yesterday, the cosmetics company got slapped with a lawsuit claiming it knowingly sold products with potentially carcinogenic chemicals and false advertising in South America and Europe. And yesterday, WWD released statistics about the company's tumbling sales outlook.

First, let's get all Law & Order on the lawsuit: Shockingly, the suit comes from one of their own! The whistle-blower, Jerome Chevallier, is the former regulatory affairs director for the company (emphasis on former). Chevallier claims he was fired after complaining about his suspicions to higher-ups. And no wonder — his assertions are huge, to say the least. L'Oréal denied the allegations to ABC News, saying, "It is our policy that we do not comment on ongoing litigation, but the company intends to vigorously defend itself in this lawsuit."

Here are the detailed allegations:

• Maybelline products that went to South America contained dibutyl phthalate, a potential carcinogen.
• L'Oréal sold products in Europe that contained a refrigerant.
• The company sold a deodorant containing Tricolsan (also banned for being an anti-microbial agent), even though they released statements saying they would no longer use the chemical.
• Products in Europe contained unlawful levels of Kathon CG, a preservative linked to dermatitis, and information about this was removed from the company computer system.
• The company marketed PureOlogy products as "100 percent vegan," when they contained animal-derived ingredients.
• The chemicals used in these claims are not banned in the U.S.

Um, wow. Calls to L'Oréal for a response weren't returned.

On top of all this, news broke yesterday that L'Oréal cut their sales-growth outlook to 6 percent, from 6 to 8 percent, thanks to the slow economy. If bad news comes in threes, we wonder what else could possibly go wrong. We're not even sure we want to know.
Sharon Clott

Lawsuit: L'Oreal Used Banned Chemicals in Foreign Sales [ABC News]
L'Oreal Trims Sales Outlook [WWD]