More than 17,000 consumers have complained about significant hair loss, bald spots, skin irritation, and other health problems after using WEN Cleansing Conditioner developed by celebrity hairstylist Chaz Dean, and some U.S. representatives are demanding to know why.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf earlier this month to ask what action the agency is giving to the complaints associated with the WEN conditioner.
“Complaints filed by thousands of customers on product forums, retail web sites, and consumer sites detail a number of adverse events related to the use of the product, including significant hair loss, visible bald spots, hair breakage, scalp irritation, rash, and burning of the scalp and eyes, among other complaints,” Rep. Pallone wrote.
The Congressman also mentioned complaints of serious hair loss resulting within the first two weeks of using WEN Cleansing Conditioner and continuing for about three weeks after discontinuing use.
Rep. Pallone sent a similar letter to Georg Richter, president and CEO of Guthy-Renker LLC, which makes WEN products for Chaz Dean, requesting a briefing from company officials to discuss the complaints. Mr. Pallone asked the company to submit all relevant internal documents concerning the product at the center of the complaints.
“Consumers deserve to know that they are making safe choices when they purchase cosmetics,” Rep. Pallone wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, since popular cosmetics and personal care products are largely unregulated before they reach the marketplace, these products can contain harmful chemicals that have the potential to put consumers at risk. We must reform our nation’s outdated cosmetics law and ensure that FDA has the resources necessary to review the chemicals used in household products when they are sold to consumers.”
Mr. Pallone’s concerns about the WEN products jibe with the results of a national survey released March 1 showing that U.S. citizens overwhelmingly support stricter government regulation of the chemicals that go into personal care products.
According to the survey, more than two-thirds of respondents said they want their cosmetics to be safe, and 94 percent said that companies should notify the government whenever their products injure consumers.
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have also addressed these concerns in bipartisan legislation they introduced to the Senate. The Personal Care Products Safety Act would be a landmark bill establishing the first safety standards for an industry that has gone virtually unregulated by federal authorities for decades.