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Dry Shampoo Lawsuits Involving Benzene Contamination

Posted on: December 25, 2023

PN Editor
December 25, 2023

Dry Shampoo Lawsuits Involving Benzene Contamination

Overview of Dry Shampoo Lawsuits Involving Benzene Contamination

Sun Bum, Paul Mitchell, and Batiste, esteemed manufacturers in the beauty industry, are currently entangled in proposed class action litigation due to the emergence of concerning reports that their dry shampoo products contain dangerously elevated levels of benzene. Recognized as a carcinogenic contaminant, benzene is associated with an increased risk of leukemia and various other cancers.

Recent Settlement Developments

October 2023: 

A federal court recently sanctioned a $3.1 million settlement to conclude a class action lawsuit accusing Batiste dry shampoo products of consumer fraud. This action was initiated on behalf of purchasers misled by representations of safety and unawareness of harmful chemicals, such as benzene, within the products.

The settlement comprises a $2.5 million cash fund destined for minor cash reparation payments to consumers, supplemented by $600,000 in product vouchers.

Litigation Against Top Dry Shampoo Brands

Actions have been filed against major corporations, including S.C. Johnson & Son, John Paul Mitchell Systems, and Church & Dwight Co. The lawsuits argue that benzene contamination makes these dry shampoos adulterated and misbranded, rendering their sale a violation of federal and state regulations.

Products specifically cited include Sun Bum Beach Formula Dry Shampoo, Paul Mitchell Invisiblewear Brunette Dry Shampoo, and 13 varieties of Batiste dry shampoo. The implications of benzene presence are particularly troublesome due to the typical heavy application and indoor use of dry shampoos, which potentially exacerbates exposure risk.

Claims in the lawsuits declare that none of the products in question list benzene amongst their ingredients, despite its background as a hazardous component of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. The complaints accuse the producers of misrepresenting their products or omitting the disclosure of benzene, a situation preventable had proper quality assurance been adhered to.

The class action complaints detail the reliance of aerosol products on gases derived from crude oil – where benzene is also a byproduct – to dispense contents, highlighting an inherent risk of contamination.

Valisure’s Findings and FDA Petition

On October 31, 2022: Valisure, a third-party laboratory, issued a citizen petition to the FDA detailing findings of substantial benzene levels in certain batches of dry shampoo. Valisure’s analysis of 148 batches across 34 brands revealed a concerning discovery where 70 percent, inclusive of Sun Bum, Paul Mitchell, and Batiste products, tested positive for benzene.

About the Lawsuits

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits up to two parts per million (ppm) of benzene in specific drug products when its inclusion is inevitable. Nonetheless, the concentration of benzene present in the defendants’ dry shampoo products substantially surpasses this threshold. The class action lawsuits allege that there is no necessity for these dry shampoos to contain benzene. Valisure, the pharmacy that conducted tests on these products, maintains that the presence of benzene, particularly as these shampoos do not include any active pharmaceutical ingredients for therapeutic effect, is arguably inadmissible.

The collective legal actions seek to represent a nation-wide consumer base who have purchased the purportedly tainted dry shampoo brands such as Sun Bum, Paul Mitchell, or Batiste for personal or domestic purposes, excluding those who bought them for resale. These lawsuits emphasize the critical responsibility of manufacturers to guarantee the safety, transparency, and adherence to legal standards of their products.

About Benzene

Benzene is a colorless to pale yellow liquid with a characteristic sweet fragrance and is highly combustible. This chemical is utilized in the production of an array of goods, including plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, rubber, dyes, detergents, drugs, pesticides, and as recent awareness indicates, dry shampoos. Benzene naturally occurs in crude oil, gasoline, and tobacco smoke.

Health Risks Associated with Benzene

  • Acute Effects: Short-term contact with elevated benzene levels may induce symptoms like dizziness, confusion, headaches, tremors, loss of consciousness, and can be fatal in extreme circumstances. Benzene can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system upon inhalation or ingestion.
  • Chronic Effects: Prolonged exposure affects the bone marrow, which could lead to anemia and a reduction in blood platelets, thereby increasing the likelihood of uncontrolled bleeding. It has the potential to weaken the immune system, heightening the risk of infection.
  • Cancer Risk: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has categorized benzene as a Group 1 carcinogen, indicating compelling evidence that it can induce cancer in humans, a concern echoed in the Camp Lejeune litigation. Long-standing exposure to benzene has been associated with the development of leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, with some research also indicating possible connections to lung and bladder cancer.

Exposure to benzene can happen through the inhalation of contaminated air, ingestion of tainted food or water, or by dermal contact with benzene-infused products. Occupations in industries such as petroleum, rubber, chemical, and shoe manufacturing may entail greater risks of benzene exposure.

Due to the substantial health hazards related to benzene, its utilization is strictly controlled, with preferred alternatives typically sought in manufacturing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have established strict exposure limits for workplace benzene. However, it is widely acknowledged that no degree of exposure to benzene is entirely risk-free, and continuous efforts are necessary to minimize human contact with this hazardous substance.

Product Adulteration and Misbranding Concerns

Products containing benzene are deemed to be adulterated and misbranded, as benzene is a toxic substance with carcinogenic properties deemed hazardous in any quantity. Adulteration of products can occur through unsanitary manufacturing, resulting in benzene contamination. Should the labeling of a product fail to disclose the presence of benzene, omit ‘benzene’ as a listed ingredient, or lack necessary warnings about benzene to mitigate health risks, the product is classified as “misbranded”.

The Defendants in Dry Shampoo Benzene Lawsuits

The defendants implicated in the dry shampoo benzene litigation encompass a number of prominent hair care product manufacturers in the United States:

Sun Bum

Founded in 2010 in Florida, Sun Bum is a lifestyle brand that seeks to offer protection for those embracing a sunny lifestyle. They offer a product line inspired by beach life, including sun care, lip balms, and hair care items like dry shampoos and lotions. Despite the quality of their tropical-scented products, there have been concerns regarding the presence of benzene.

Paul Mitchell

Established in 1980, Paul Mitchell stands out as a prestigious professional hair care label. Created by John Paul DeJoria and the famous stylist Paul Mitchell, the brand’s range features numerous hair care solutions and styling appliances. Renowned for supporting professional hairdressers and stylists with salon-exclusive, superior-grade items, Paul Mitchell also champions social and environmental causes, being a forerunner in cruelty-free product testing within the beauty sector.


Batiste, a well-known British hair care line, has gained particular acclaim for its dry shampoo offerings. Since its inception in the 1970s, Batiste has focused on crafting dry shampoos aimed at providing a fast and practical solution for hair that looks and feels fresh. They cater to various hair types, colors, and also offer an array of scents and sizes. Their products are designed to revitalize hair between washes while adding volume and texture.

Contact Information

For further details or inquiries, please feel free to reach out to Pusch & Nguyen at 833-787-4946.


Class Action Settlement Agreement with Batiste Dry Shampoo Manufacturer

Church & Dwight, Co., the manufacturer of Batiste Dry Shampoo, has reached a settlement agreement amounting to $2.5 million in a class action lawsuit over the presence of benzene in their aerosol spray cans. Plaintiffs in the suit, initiated in November 2022, contended that exposure to the chemical compound posed an increased risk of cancer. Despite this risk, the lawsuit claimed that Church & Dwight, Co. continued to market their product as a safe and convenient alternative to traditional hair washing, ignoring or overlooking the substantial benzene levels.

It is important to note that the recent settlement is specifically tailored to resolve consumer class action allegations and does not encompass claims related to injuries. Consequently, the compensation awarded to consumers under this settlement is unlikely to be substantial. In light of this, Pusch & Nguyen is currently not representing clients in relation to these specific claims.

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