Babyganics was founded in Westbury, New York by Kevin Schwartz (CEO) and Keith Garber (President) in 2002. The Babyganics mission “is to raise the next generation of healthy, happy babies.” The company prides itself on developing child-safe, organic products such as cleaning products, shampoos, and suntan lotions.
Over the past 15 years, the company has grown exponentially in terms of its revenue, value, and number of products. Unfortunately, that rapid growth may have compromised Babyganics’ core values.
Babyganics says it thoroughly vets its ingredients and “test[s] the heck out of everything,” from pH to odor to color. But environmental groups and frustrated parents suggest this may not be the case.
Babyganics now faces several lawsuits over the potentially harmful nature of its ingredients. The most notable such case is a class action suit filed by ClassAction.com.
Swift Growth Leads to Purchase by S.C. Johnson
From 2011 to 2013, Babyganics nearly tripled its sales growth (277%). In 2012, the company was named to the Inc. 5000 list for the first time, landing at #613 on the list of the fastest-growing private companies in the country. (It made the list again in 2014, coming in at #1540.)
For the year 2013, Babyganics reported $30 million in gross revenue.
In April 2014, the company’s co-founders—Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Garber—published a book, BabySafe in Seven Steps: The Babyganics Guide to Smart and Effective Solutions for a Healthy Home. Six months later, the company was named to Crain’s New York Business’s Fast 50 list, which recognizes the fastest-growing 50 companies in the New York City area.
Despite its tremendous growth, Babyganics continued to cultivate an image of a wholesome pop-and-pop shop with two plucky dads (Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Garber) being “very hands on with new product design and development.”
But Babyganics was not owned by its co-founders—it was owned by a San Francisco-based private equity firm called VMG Partners. (VMG’s more notable brands include Justin’s, Kind, Natural Balance Pet Foods, Quest, Spindrift, and Pirate’s Booty.)
For the year 2013, Babyganics reported $30 million in gross revenue.
In July 2016, SC Johnson—a multinational company that generates roughly $10 billion in annual revenue—purchased Babyganics from VMG Partners.
Babyganics’ mission ostensibly is to “continue making baby products that use the safest ingredients available, products that are attainable for every mom and dad, and products that work insanely well.” But it’s hard to imagine that being owned by a private equity firm and then a global conglomerate would not have altered those values in some way.
Babyganics now boast more than 80 personal care and household products, which it describes as “baby-safe” and “organic.” These products are sold by major retailers like Target, Amazon, and Babies “R” Us.
But they may not be quite as safe or eco-conscious as advertised.
Babyganics Receives Failing Grades from Environmental Group
For a company that prides itself on being socially responsible and health-conscious, Babyganics scores poorly on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) various guides. The EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning
…is an online hazard guide for household cleaning products, launched in 2012 to help people find products that fully disclose their ingredients and contain fewer ingredients that are hazardous or that haven’t been thoroughly tested. The database combines product ingredient lists gleaned from product labels, company websites and worker safety documents with information in more than 16 standard toxicity databases and extensive searches of peer-reviewed scientific literature.
One would expect that a company like Babyganics would perform quite well under this kind of scrutiny—but that’s not at all the case.
Of the 23 Babyganics cleaning products the EWG has graded, only three scored an A. None scored a B. Six scored a C. Fourteen of the 23 products earned a D or F. Some, like Babyganics Fragrance-Free Laundry Detergent, yielded “High Concern” for Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity.
Fourteen of the 23 products earned a D or F from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Babyganics performed better in EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, but even several of these products scored a 4, 5, or even 6 out of 10, representing a Moderate hazard risk. Moreover, five Babyganics products include Coumarin (which scores a 7 out of 10 hazard risk), five contain Fragrance (which scores an 8), and two contain Octinoxate (which scores 6).
The questionable nature of Babyganics’ ingredients has not only earned the company low marks from the environmental groups—it has also spawned lawsuits.
Controversial Ingredients Spur Lawsuits
In September 2016, consumers in New York and California banded together to file a class action lawsuit against Babyganics alleging false advertising on the grounds that many Babyganics are not organic or (in the case of sunscreen) mineral-based despite claiming otherwise.
The plaintiffs—Tanya Mayhew of New York and Tanveer Alibhai of California—say that they paid a premium for what they thought were organic and mineral-free products, and that they would not have purchased the products had they known their true ingredients. The complaint goes on to cite a number of non-organic ingredients listed and presumably found in dozens of Babyganics products. It seeks monetary relief, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and any other relief the Court deems proper. (This case is still pending.)
The complaint cites a number of non-organic ingredients listed in dozens of Babyganics products.
Around the same time as the false advertising class action, Babyganics was hit with a separate lawsuit alleging that its “tear-free” shampoo had burned a boy’s eyes, potentially damaging them permanently. Theresa Jones said her baby son Hunter suffered burns on 90 percent of his corneas and that doctors blamed the chemicals in the Babyganics shampoo, saying Hunter may have eye problems for the rest of his life.
Ms. Jones said she found many online complaints from women whose children were similarly injured by Babyganics products.
In May 2017, an Oregon woman named Jade Christensen said Babyganics Face, Hand and Baby Wipes were to blame for a bumpy rash that broke out on Ms. Christensen’s five-week-old son Leif’s face. She said she noticed black spots on the wipes, suggesting they had some sort of mold growing on them, and found similar complaints about the product online.
In response to Ms. Christensen’s experience, Babyganics offered to replace any wipes with black spots on them, and assured parents that they’d had the wipes tested and that they were not a health concern.
For more on Babyganics lawsuits and lawsuit eligibility, see our Babyganics Lawsuit page.
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If you purchased one of Babyganics’ “tear-free” products, you may be able to collect money equal to the cost of the products you purchased. More importantly, you would help hold this company accountable for its allegedly deceptive advertising. Contact us today to learn if you are eligible for a lawsuit.
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