The American Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has assessed a penalty against four American manufacturers of personal care products. According to the complaint, the manufacturers had deliberately misled consumers by labeling products with the statement, “All natural” or “Contains only natural ingredients,” even though the products contained artificial ingredients.
The falsely labeled products include body lotions, hair-care products, and sun screens. Although the manufacturers advertised the products with labels stating “all natural” and “100% natural“, much of the content was anything but natural. The products contained polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a polymer based on silicon, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, polyethylene, and other chemical substances.
A series of class-action lawsuits that also involve misleading use of the term “natural” are still in progress. The leaders of the FTC rejected the companies’ claims that the term “natural” is not explicitly described in the Commission’s Green Guides. According to Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP), such a description is unnecessary. The terms “all natural” or “100% natural” are self-explanatory. They simply and plainly mean “without artificial ingredients or chemical additives – and do not leave any room for interpretation.
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