A couple is accusing Honest Co, the eco-friendly household and skin products company co-founded by actress Jessica Alba, of jacking up the prices by fraudulently labeling dozens of products as natural, plant-based or chemical-free.
Brad and Manon Buonasera filed a lawsuit late last week in U.S. District Court in Manhattan and have taken issue on at least 41 Honest Co items such as floor cleaners, laundry detergent, children’s toothpaste, soap and bubble bath.
According to Reuters, the couple alleges that while the products sold are labeled as “natural,” “all natural,” “naturally derived,” “plant-based” and “no harsh chemicals (ever!),” the reality is that they contain “a spectacular array of synthetic and toxic ingredients."
"Honest's products are a chemical soup," the complaint said, adding the toxins include phenoxyethanol and methylisothiazolinone.
The couple said they contacted Honest in mid-September after purchasing its Conditioning Detangler and Shampoo & Body Wash at a Costco store in Harlem. They said after the company failed to correct its advertising, they decided to sue.
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The Buonaseras are seeking damages that could top $5 million. They have also requested class-action status for New Yorkers who have purchased Honest Co. products.
Alba has not been named as a defendant.
“The Honest Company takes its responsibility to our consumers seriously and strongly stands behind our products,” the company said in a statement, according to Reuters. “These allegations are without merit and we will vigorously defend this baseless lawsuit."
A similar class-action lawsuit was filed last September by Jonathan D. Rubin in San Francisco. He claimed that the products described as “natural” actually contained synthetic preservatives.
Rubin accused the company’s products of being “deceptively and misleadingly labeled and marketed.” He highlighted a list of products including Honest Hand Soap, Honest Dish Soap, Honest Diapers and Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner of containing unnatural ingredients
In a statement at the time, Alba stood behind her products and criticized the allegations.
“Seven years ago, when I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was frustrated by the lack of healthy and safe product options for me and my new family,” the actress wrote. “I started The Honest Company to develop safe and effective products not just for my children, but for families everywhere. I am proud that we have built this company into an industry leader focuses on using natural ingredients and developing products that people love.”
Alba, 34, co-founded and owns 15 to 20 percent of the $1 billion company.