On April 10, 2012, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released its report about alleged false and misleading ingredient claims by manufacturers of nail polish and other nail care products. The report focused on claims about a so-called “Toxic Trio” of chemicals, formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and assertions that some nail care product manufacturers have falsely represented that their products are free of these ingredients. The DTSC collected for chemical analysis samples from various manufacturers. The DTSC found “unsubstantiated” some claims by manufacturers that their nail care products were free of one or more of the “Toxic Trio.”

The DTSC report will likely be followed by inquiries and complaints from nail salons, customers, and possibly bounty-hunter lawsuits under Proposition 65. There will be additional press about the DTSC report in print and broadcast media, as well as online and in social media. As with many media events, alarmist overstatements, conjecture and misinterpretations can occur. Manufacturers, distributors and resellers can get caught in the storm. If you are a nail care product manufacturer or distributor, you need to be prepared to respond.

This type of media event can cut broadly across an industry, embroiling even uninvolved manufacturers and distributors. Nail care product manufacturers and distributors should prepare to respond affirmatively, and should consider distributorship and reseller relations, consumer relations, and potential reactions to any governmental action or lawsuit. Over thirty years of representing members of the beauty industry, Conkle, Kremer & Engel has seen this type of media event before, and we are well equipped to help manufacturers and distributors respond.


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