For lovers of word-association games: what words leap to mind when you think of “all natural” ingredients?
Did you pick “Dimethicone,” “Phenoxyethanol,” or “Polyethylene”? Perhaps “Butyloctyl alicylate,” “Polyquaternium-37,” or “Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate”? No? Well, not to worry — you haven’t lost the game. But five companies that tagged products that contained one or more of these ingredients as “all natural” or “100% natural” are now rethinking their strategy.
The FTC alleged the companies misrepresented their personal care products — including sunscreens, moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners, and shower gels — by describing them as “all natural” or “100% natural” when they contained one or more synthetic ingredients.
According to the FTC, the claims showed up in product names, such as “All Natural Hand and Body Lotion,” sold under the trade name ShiKai by Trans-India Products, Inc., of Santa Rosa, Calif., and “Coconut Shea All Natural Styling Elixir,” sold under the trade name EDEN BodyWorks by ABS Consumer Products, LLC, of Memphis, Tenn.
The FTC said the claims also showed up in product ads. For example, The Erickson Marketing Group Inc., of Arvada, Colo., which uses the trade name Rocky Mountain Sunscreen, and California Naturel, Inc., of Sausalito, Calif., both advertised their sunscreens as “all natural,” while Beyond Coastal, of Salt Lake City, touted its sunscreen as “100% natural.”
Four of the companies have agreed to proposed orders that would prohibit them from claiming that any product is 100% natural unless they have reliable evidence to back up the claim. The orders also would require them to have proof for any claims they make about the products’ environmental or health benefits. The Commission issued a complaint against the fifth company, California Naturel, seeking the same relief.
How can you avoid being burned by misleading “all natural” claims for sunscreen and other products? Take the claims with a non-synthetic grain of salt, check out the ingredients list on the package, and please visit our website for information about shopping for products that claim to have health or beauty benefits.
According to the FTC, each of the following companies made the all-natural claim in online ads:
The proposed consent orders bar the four settling respondents from misrepresenting the following when advertising, promoting, or selling a product: 1) whether the product is all natural or 100 percent natural; 2) the extent to which the product contains any natural or synthetic components; 3) the ingredients or composition of a product; and 4) the environmental or health benefits of a product.
The orders require the respondents to have and rely on competent and reliable evidence to support any product claims they make. Some claims require scientific evidence, which is defined as tests, analyses, research, or studies that have been conducted and evaluated objectively by qualified individuals using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results.
More information can be found at the FTC website. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/super-unnatural-product-claims?utm_source=govdelivery