Product Liability Lawyer reviewing toxic cosmetics cases and lawsuits for injured clients and plaintiffs nationwide
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Cosmetic Product Injury Lawyer

investigating toxic cosmetics and flammable cosmetics

Health-related complaints regarding cosmetic products like shampoo, moisturizers and makeup are at an all-time high since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began monitoring the industry’s many consumer products. But despite the growing evidence of toxic cosmetics, and that personal care products are harmful to the health of individuals, cosmetics are still quite under-regulated in the United States.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration MAUDE complaints database contains only 5,144 adverse events between 2004 and 2016 reported in connection with defective cosmetics. For a multi-billion dollar industry with countless products, many experts say the number of adverse events like cosmetic burn injuries are grossly under-reported.

As with some drugs and supplements, most cosmetics do not need to go through a pre-market FDA approval process before they are marketed and sold in stores, even when the overall safety and the claims on the product labels remains unknown.

Even when health risks are known with products, it can be difficult to regulate an entire industry. If injury results from using a product, legal action is often the best course to pursue.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated personal injury lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of toxic tort and product liability claims.

Contact The Lyon Firm following any cancer case or burn injury linked to the use of toxic cosmetic products. Any toxic exposure to a consumer product can be grounds for a valuable product liability lawsuits, and settlement is likely. 

Cosmetic Flammability & Burn Injury

There have been numerous cases of consumer burn injury linked to flammable cosmetics. The cosmetics industry may downplay the hazards of their products, and the FDA is unable to properly test cosmetics, relying on companies to provide their own safety assessments.

Cosmetic burn injury cases have surfaced when consumers use cosmetic aerosols, or when close to heat sources wearing dangerous cosmetics. If you have been injured due to a Combustible Cosmetics product, contact a product liability attorney to investigate.

Chemicals & Toxic Cosmetics

  • Phthalates—phthalates frequently used in cosmetics are also used in plastic wrap, wood furnishing, lubricants, insecticides, and detergents. Animal tests have concluded that phthalates negatively affect hormones and contribute to an early onset of puberty.
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea—used in many water-based cosmetics, deodorants, hair dyes, shaving cream, and face masks. This chemical is used as a preservative and releases formaldehyde. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists imidazolidinyl urea as a known allergen and toxicant.
  • Parabens—a chemical often used with imidazolidinyl urea in makeup, moisturizers, hair care products, and shaving products.
  • Triethanolamine (TEA)—animal tests have shown this chemical to be highly irritating to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. Long-term exposure to TEA may cause asthma and allergic reactions.
  • Polyethylene glycols (PEG)—used in moisturizers, it may affect the liver and kidneys if absorbed in the body.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate—can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation.
  • Stearalkonium Chloride—a chemical suspected of being an allergen and toxicant. May be found in hair conditioner and creams.
  • PVP/VA Copolymer—a binder in hair, nail, and skin care products that may be a skin irritant.
  • Synthetic Colors—artificial colors or dyes may be toxic and carcinogenic.
  • Synthetic Fragrances—could possibly contain allergens that may interfere with the immune system.
  • Asbestos–Thousands of lawsuits claim contaminated baby powder products have caused ovarian cancer cases.

Cosmetic Burn Injury & Toxic Exposure

Data analyzed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that male reproductive problems, including undescended testicles and hypospadias, doubled between 1970 and 1993, and environmental chemicals are strongly suspected as contributing factors.

Some studies have pointed to the presence of potential reproductive or developmental toxicants in cosmetics and personal care products.

According to reports released as early as June 2004, makeup, shampoo, skin lotion, nail polish, lipsticks, lip glosses, eye shadows, and other personal care products contain chemical ingredients that lack safety data, and some of these chemicals include preservatives, stabilizers, pigments, dyes, and heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and zinc.

Few consumers are aware of where their cosmetics are produced, and would be wary of purchasing the same products if they knew what chemicals and additives their cosmetics contained.

Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuits

Talc powder products have been under fire recently with lawsuits targeting Johnson & Johnson for their baby powder products causing ovarian cancer. Plaintiffs and cancer victims claim years of baby powder use has led to thousands of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer cases.

Consumer safety lawyers are concerned the number of cancer cases could increase dramatically in coming years, as the use of talc products is still just as common, and baby powders have not been recalled in any form.

flammable cosmetics

Claire’s Makeup Asbestos Lawsuits

In 2017, Claire’s, a major seller of accessories and cosmetics for young girls and teenagers, battled claims that some of its makeup products contained asbestos, a highly toxic substance known to cause cancer. Experts say there is no safe level of asbestos exposure, placing most Americans at risk with the widespread use of the material.

Claire’s announced a product recall after reports that one consumer sent a sample of the company’s glitter makeup out for independent testing. Claire’s makeup allegedly tested positive for asbestos, and Claire’s pulled related products from the market.

Toxic Cosmetics

Despite growing evidence that popular cosmetics and makeup products on the market are produced with toxic substances and allergens, leading to skin burns, there is very little regulation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Consumers have complained about toxic cosmetics and inconsistencies in makeup products, many of which are manufactured overseas in China, and have caused chemical skin burns.

Consumer skin reactions to toxic cosmetics have included rashes, serious irritation and chemical skin burns, likely from additives that have not been identified on the packaging. Some popular cosmetics  are made with more than basic preservatives, and some have tested positive for the following:

Dangerous Cosmetic Products

The majority of cosmetic products do not need to go through the FDA approval process before they are marketed and distributed. But serious health risks and skin burn injuries have been documented, and legal action may be the best way forward for injured plaintiffs.

Flammable cosmetics have been on the market for some time now. Cosmetic burn injury is a serious safety concern, and manufacturers have a duty to produce safer products for consumers. Combustible Cosmetics is not an area of litigation that has gotten much press, though plaintiffs may have viable personal injury and product liability cases.

The FDA cannot review and test every single cosmetic item that hits the market, and so they encourage cosmetic companies to test their own products in labs to ensure consumer safety. But far too often, companies rush to get products to market and fail to actually test the safety before consumers begin using them.

Cosmetic contamination can occur in a few different areas of production. As seen in baby powder talc contamination cases, the original talcum materials may have contained asbestos. These cases are still ongoing, and the scary part is how widespread the use of baby powder has been for decades.

Since a great deal of cosmetics are manufactured abroad, in China, India, and other nations, the oversight can be difficult for quality control inspectors. Facilities producing these products can cut many corners, and may use toxic chemicals in the products to cut costs. For many consumers, it is only a guess as to what chemicals are put in some cosmetics.

Toxic Cosmetics Recall

Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, the FDA is charged with regulating cosmetics, whether they are produced in the U.S. or abroad. However, only when consumers issue complaints and report associated injuries does the FDA respond, often too late to issue recalls of problematic products.

Current regulation statutes require no specific tests or safety data before a cosmetics company sells a new product on the American market. So with loose oversight comes safety risks, skin burn injury reports and toxic cosmetics, affecting talcum powers, shampoos, soaps, lipstick, blush, mascara, makeup, eye liners, eye shadow and more.

The FDA is responsible for regulating cosmetics and personal care products. FDA regulations state that “Each ingredient used in a cosmetic product and each finished cosmetic product shall be adequately substantiated for safety prior to marketing.”

If a product or ingredient has not been adequately substantiated prior to marketing, it must include a Black Box warning. Some recent cosmetics recalls include the following:

  • Divine Living recalls Divine Living Tooth Brushing Spray
  • Avlon Industries, Inc recalls As I am Born Curly Argan Curl Defining Jelly due to the presence of Enterobacter gergoviae.
  • Avlon Industries, Inc recalls KeraCare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo due to the presence of Enterobacter cloacae.
  • Radiant Colors recalls Radiant Colors Victor Portugal Lining Black because the tattoo ink was found to contain Bacillus altitudinis.
  • Fusion Ink, LLC recalls Royal Blue Glycerin Tattoo Ink due to microbial contamination of tattoo ink.


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Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.

The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.


The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.

photo of attorney Joe Lyon
A Voice for Those who have suffered

Why are these cases important?

Many product liability cases have had a positive impact on public health and safety, and we have witnessed improved lives and future injuries prevented as companies are forced to remove products and change designs and warnings as a result of litigation.


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Questions about Product Liability & Case Types

What is a Product Liability Lawsuit?

Product liability lawsuits often contain causes of action for strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. Strict liability applies to different factors than negligence-based claims.

In negligence cases, the actions of the defendant are the focus. In strict liability claims, the focus is on the condition of a product at the time it left the manufacturer. If a product is determined to be defective, the company is liable for any foreseeable injuries that are in-part caused by the defective condition of the product.

How is a Product Defined as Defective?
Ohio Definition of Defective

A product is defective if it is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. A legal cause of action can be based on several types of product defects. The following are Cincinnati product liability and strict liability claims available in Ohio and in most jurisdictions nationwide:

(1)  Manufacturing/ Construction Defect:

These issues arise where the product is released from the factory in a manner that deviates from the intended design or specifications. The defect can be a result of using the wrong materials, including the wrong or completely foreign materials (e.g., Tylenol contamination, food poisoning, damaged car part from factory installation).

As a result of the deviation, the product enters the market in an unreasonably dangerous condition and the consumer is exposed to or purchases a product that is defective. Any personal injuries or economic loss that arise from the the defect are compensable under Ohio product liability law.

(2) Defective design and/or formulation:

Defective design product liability cases arise not because a mistake was made during the manufacturing process, but rather the original design of the product is unreasonably dangerous. A “risk benefit analysis” is used to determine whether safer/less expensive alternative designs were available to the manufacturer.

Federal regulations set minimum standards for the design of many consumer products, and preemption defenses may preclude liability in some situations if the manufacturer follows and obtains federal approval for a product. Automotive recalls and product liability cases are usually a result of a defective design. Common cases include the Toyota Brake Recall, Chrysler Gen III seat belt buckle, lap belt only cases, Metal on Metal hip implants, transvaginal mesh.)

(3) Failure to warn or inadequate warning or instruction associated with the product:

All consumer products come with necessary and appropriate warnings and instructions for use. If the lack of a warning makes the product and use of the product unsafe, the manufacturer is liable for the failure to place the warning. The most common area of litigation for failure to warn is in pharmaceutical litigation.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are required to warn of the known or foreseeable side effects and update the warnings in a timely manner. Litigation arises where there is evidence the manufacturer failed to timely update a warning in light of new data or simply ignored the risk and failed to conduct sufficient research to identify and then disclose the risk.

(4) Misrepresentation:

The product fails to conform to a representation or warranty. Warranty claims are more common in commercial and economic loss cases than in personal injury cases. In many States, The Product Liability Act does not apply to cases with only economic loss, because the Commercial Code provides recourse for breach of warranty.

The warranty may be written or implied based upon the products intended purpose and merchantability. An example of a breach of warranty cases are cases involving automotive defects.

How do you prove design defects?

Risks:  The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the risks associated with the design of a product:  (1) the magnitude of the risk of injury; (2) ordinary consumer awareness of the risk for injury; (3) the likelihood of causing injury; (4) the violation of a private or public standard; and (5) the consumer’s expectation of the performance of the product and level of danger. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (B) Product Defective in Design or Formulation.

BenefitsThe following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the benefits associated with product design: (1) the utility of the product; (2) availability of an alternative design; (3) the magnitude of risks associated with an alternative design. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (c)

Defenses for Defective Design(1) a pharmaceutical drug or medical device is not defective by design if it contains an adequate warning of an unavoidably unsafe aspect of the pharmaceutical or medical device; (2) the dangerous aspect is inherent to the product, recognizable, and cannot be eliminated without compromising the product’s usefulness; (3) a lack of a feasible alternative design. 2307.75 (d)(e)(f).


  • Metal on Metal Hip Implants
  • Lap Belt Only Seat Belts
  • Transvaginal Mesh
  • FMK Fast Action Trigger
  • Lack of Insulating Link on Cranes
What is a manufacturing defect?

A manufacturing defect is based on a defect that occurred during the manufacturing process. Many auto companies have been involved in this kind of product liability lawsuits in recent years, due to defective airbags, software defects, tire failure, and other dangerous manufacturing errors.

Most manufacturing defect cases are based on a products deviation from the intended specification, formula, performance standards, or design model. In such cases, it may be easy to determine the product did not comply with the intended design.

The product may be recalled as a specific lot is identified as being non-compliant and defective. A product may be defective in manufacture or construction, materials and assembly, and a manufacturer or distributor may be subject to strict liability, even though it exercised all possible care.  Ohio Revised Code 2307.74.

Manufacturing Defect Examples:

    • Contaminated Food
    • Defective Medical Devices
    • Contaminated Pharmaceuticals
    • Defective Handguns
    • Defective Auto Components
What is a failure to warn lawsuit?

In determining whether a product is defective due to inadequate warning or instruction, evidence must be presented to prove:

  • The manufacturer knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about a risk
  • A reasonable manufacturer would have provided a warning of the risk
  • The manufacturer failed to provide the warning
  • The person was injured due to a lack of warning. The same elements apply whether the claim is based on a warning present during the marketing or post-sale warnings.

Defenses to Failure to Warn Claims(1) the risk was open and obvious or a matter of common knowledge; and (2) in cases of a pharmaceutical drug or medical device, the warning was provided to the prescribing physician (“Learned Intermediary Doctrine”).

Many pharmaceutical companies have been targeted in failure to warn lawsuits for either failing to place warnings on medication guides and packaging or failing to properly test their product before putting it to market.

What are consumer product safety regulations?

Design and manufacturing defects result in thousands of product recalls each year in the United States, initiated by federal safety agencies. Following injury and illness, regardless of recall status, victims and plaintiffs may pursue legal action and contact a product liability lawyer to begin the litigation process. Rightful compensation can be sought and help plaintiffs recover medical costs and other related damages.

Product liability law overlaps with regulatory law, which are the systems of legislative rules and administrative agencies, and part of federal and state governments. These agencies regulate the safety of the products sold to the public. Examples include:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA;)
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

The listed government agencies, however, may initiate recalls of dangerous products but do not provide remedies or compensation for damages where an individual is injured due to the defective product.

Your Right to Safety
Learn more about the Legal Process

Defective products on the market present safety and health hazards for adults and children. Cheap and defective products may pose fire and burn risks; electrocution, strangulation and choking risks; and severe health risks. The manufacturers of consumer products have a duty to foresee potential injury and properly design and test products before they are released.

Companies must also properly warn consumers of any risks associated with their products. Any failure to protect consumers that results in accidents and injury can lead to lawsuits filed by plaintiffs and their product liability lawyer.

Our Victories

The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to a defective product or recalled product to obtain just compensation under the law. 



(Pikeville, Kentucky): Confidential settlement for Plaintiff who suffered spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia due to defectively designed seat belt. Four passengers with three-point (lap/shoulder) belts walked away from the accident, and the only passenger wearing a two-point belt (lap only) suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury. The settlement assisted with home improvements to assist in daily living. GM entered federal bankruptcy during the process and no longer manufactures two-point lap belts for vehicles.



(Hillsboro, Ohio): Confidential Settlement for the family of elderly man who was catastrophically burned while operating a propane wall heater. The burns resulted in his unfortunate death. The heater, manufactured and sourced from China, was alleged to allow the flame to reach outside the grid area in violation of ANSI standards. The Defendant resolved the case following discovery and mediation. The recovered funds were paid to the victim’s surviving spouse and children. The company no longer manufactures this type of heater.