UPDATE: Revlon now threatening legal action against NGOs

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

UPDATE: Revlon now threatening legal action against NGOs

Related tags Revlon cosmetics Cosmetics

Revlon has now threatened legal action against three U.S. NGOs less than a week after speaking out against campaigns it felt were misleading in urging it to stop using certain cancer linked chemicals.

The cosmetics giant came under fire two weeks ago after the Breast Cancer Fund and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics teamed up with online women’s group UltraViolet to demand the brand stop selling “make-up laced with cancer-causing chemicals to the public, all while marketing themselves as a company fighting breast cancer.”

Senior vice president of corporate communications for Revlon's parent company, Christine Taylor spoke out last week deeming the campaign as “false and misleading​” as the chemicals were neither “used by Revlon​" or “associated with cancer”.

Since then vice president Lauren Goldberg has issued a cease and desist letter to Ultraviolet, demanding a retraction and citing that the chemicals they use in their products are safe for consumers.

An abstract of that letter stated: "Your press release wrongly states that Revlon uses BHA. We have not used this ingredient for some time. BHT is a different and widely used preservative that has not been linked to cancer by any reputable scientific or regulatory body."

In response Janet Nudelman, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, says these tactics will not work. “Here’s our message to Revlon: No amount of bullying is going to make us stop advocating on behalf of the millions of people who want and deserve safe cosmetics."

Next week, she says cancer survivors, women’s advocates and other concerned consumers will still go ahead with a protest in front of Revlon’s NYC headquarters.

'Misleading claims'

The NGOS letter-writing campaign a couple of weeks back came after a survey allegedly found Revlon cosmetics to have contained 'cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting chemicals'.

According to that survey, the chemicals uncovered included Butylated compounds (BHA, BHT) said to have been found in hair dyes and lip gloss, Quaternium-15 in mascaras, pressed powders and eyeliner, p-Phenylenediamine found in hair dye, and carbon black in eyeliners.  

We demand Revlon take a stand against cancer and drop these chemicals from their products immediately,​” said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet at the time.

The groups also called for online pressure, advertisements, calls, and in-person events to convince Revlon to develop a comprehensive “safe cosmetics policy” to protect women from chemicals linked to cancer and other adverse health effects.

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