As You Sow v. Revlon, Inc., et al.

Posted: 06/30/1993  browse the case archive

On June 30, 1993, Proposition 65 private enforcer and whistleblower As You Sow and cosmetics manufacturer Revlon, Inc. entered an agreement resolving litigation between the two parties. AYS commenced the private enforcement action on November 18, 1992, when it served Revlon with a 60-Day Notice of Violation of Proposition 65. After no public enforcer elected to prosecute the violations alleged in its notice, AYS filed As You Sow v. Revlon, Inc., et al., San Francisco Superior Court, Case No. CGC-93-950766, naming Revlon and other similarly situated cosmetic companies in receipt of AYS-issued 60-Day Notices of Violation as defendants for alleged unwarned exposures to toluene from nail enamel and nail care products in violation of Proposition 65. Toluene is listed pursuant to Proposition 65 as a chemical that is known to cause reproductive harm or birth defects. AYS's Notice of Violation and the Complaint filed by the whistleblower alleged that Revlon and other cosmetic manufacturers sold nail polish, enamels, bases, top coats, and nail care products containing toluene without providing consumers and users of the products with a health hazard warning regarding the risks associated with toluene exposures, in violation of Proposition 65.

In negotiating the settlement, AYS's attorneys obtained the manufacturer's commitment to reformulate all of its nail enamel and nail care products sold nationwide to be toluene-free by June 1, 1993. In exchange for the cosmetic manufacturer's commitment to only offer toluene-free products going forward, AYS agreed to forego the imposition of otherwise-available civil penalties. The settlement also provided for a payment to AYS of $16,000 to reimburse a portion of the attorneys' fees and costs incurred investigating, bringing the matter to Revlon's attention, litigating, and negotiating a settlement of the matter in the public interest.

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