Two class action lawsuits have been filed against Unilever, the manufacturer of TRESemme hair care products for failing to warn its consumers about a dangerous chemical found in the products. The ingredient is a formaldehyde-releasing preservative called DMDM hydantoin and it has been found in some Unilever manufactured shampoos, including TRESemme Keratin Hair Smoothing Shampoo and TRESemme Keratin Smooth Color Shampoo.
DMDM hydantoin is described as “a formaldehyde donor known to slowly leach formaldehyde when coming into contact with water” and is “a well-known human carcinogen.” The lawsuit claims that the ingredient, on its own or in combination with other ingredients commonly found in shampoos, causes significant hair loss and scalp irritation when applied properly. These complaints are noticeably similar to those made by users of Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion in 2012, one of TRESemme’s leading competitors.
The complaints allege that Unilever has known of the harmful effects of DMDM hydantoin as a carcinogen since at least 2012. However, Unilever “continued to proudly include this ingredient as a preservative in its products,” and, in fact, continued to claim that its products were safe for use when properly applied. The class actions were filed in the U.S District Courts for the Northern District of California and Northern District of Illinois on November 16, 2020.
Cheyenne Benyi is an associate attorney at Grewal Law PLLC. Her practice focuses primarily on cannabis law, criminal defense, personal injury, and general practice matters.