The unofficial end of summer marks the official beginning of legal action against The Honest Company and its founders, including actress Jessica Alba. The Class Action complaint filed September 3 in the United States District Court of California alleges the company’s sunscreen is ineffective, and calls into question the company’s marketing claims for an array of its products. The legal action follows an NBC5 Investigates report first aired on NBC5 Chicago last July, in which hundreds of customers like Gretta Stabler of Naperville voiced concerns about the product, after she says she followed directions in applying it but her 6-year old daughter still suffered a sunburn.
"She got really burnt on her arms, shoulders, legs, face, pretty much everywhere. I was very angry," Stabler told NBC5 Investigates. "I'm not a chemist…but when I buy a bottle that says SPF 30 on it and it has zinc oxide, I just thought that I was getting her a bottle that would offer some protection."
Following NBC5’s report, a flurry of national media coverage and consumer complaints kept the issue in headlines nationwide. Consumers profiled in our report and elsewhere complained they suffered burns despite applying the product in accordance with directions.
An Honest spokesperson told NBC5 Investigates the company stands behind the efficacy of its product, and the safety testing behind it. "Our Sunscreen Lotion was tested, by an independent 3rd party, against the protocols prescribed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) monograph for over-the-counter sunscreen products," the company’s statement reads. "The results showed that our product is effective and safe for use as an 80 minute water-resistant (FDA's highest rating), SPF 30 sunscreen lotion in accordance with FDA regulations when used as directed … The number of complaints received on our own website about our Sunscreen Lotion constitute less than one half of one percent of all units actually sold at honest.com. We stand behind the safety and efficacy of this product."
In response to the legal complaint, the Honest Company provided the following statement:
"The allegations against us are baseless and without merit. We strongly stand behind our products and the responsibility we have to our consumers. We are steadfast in our commitment to transparency and openness."