LOS ANGELES (CN) - Celebrity-endorsed EOS lip balm causes blistering, bleeding, skin-cracking and rashes and the company conceals it from consumers, a California woman claims in a federal class action.
Lead plaintiff Rachael Cronin sued New York-based EOS Products on Tuesday, accusing it of fraudulently concealing adverse side effects despite ample evidence from consumer complaints.
EOS, an acronym for "evolution of smooth," advertises its lip balms with "celebrity brand ambassadors" such as Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Hillary Duff, and others, Cronin says.
"The advertisements and marketing by EOS emphasizes that the product is 'organic' and 'gluten-free,' aligning the product with popular dietary trends, despite the fact that the lip balm has no consumable value," Cronin says. And despite claims that the balms are organic, they contain sodium hyaluronate, ascorbyl palmitate, tocopherols, and butyrospermum parkii, which the FDA considers a "major allergen," according to the complaint.
"Potentially in excess of hundreds of thousands of consumers," Cronin says, "have experienced devastating adverse reactions to the product, consisting of mild to severe rashes, dryness, bleeding, blistering, cracking and loss of pigmentation, lasting from a few days, to a few months, and some consumers with long lasting and perhaps permanent symptoms."
EOS is aware of the "serious adverse side effects" of its lip balms, and has been "flooded" by consumer complaints, including on its Facebook page, Cronin says. Yet EOS does not provide any warnings on its product, website or marketing materials, and did not recall the lip balm or commission a study of the adverse effects, according to the complaint.
Cronin bought EOS Summer Fruit lip balm on Dec. 4, 2015. Its packaging claims "EOS keeps your lips moist, soft and sensationally smooth" and had no warnings about side effects.
Within hours of using the lip balm, Cronin says, her lips became dry and coarse, so she used more, which caused her lips to crack severely, flake and bleed, resulting in severe blistering and rashes that required medical care.
Cronin says she was in "severe shock and pain," the symptoms lasted for 10 days, and she posted a photo on Facebook that showed her with boils and blisters on her face.
She says the post "set off a frenzy of responses from other individuals who shared the identical experience with EOS," and it became clear that this is a "massive national health problem."
Cronin seeks class certification, restitution, disgorgement, injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages for fraud, concealment, breach of warranty, unjust enrichment, consumer law violations and unfair business practices.
She estimates the size of the class in the millions.
EOS Products is the only named defendant and did not respond to an email request for comment Thursday.
Cronin's attorney Mark Geragos could not be reached for comment by telephone Thursday night.
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