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Can I sue if my cosmetic product injures me?

The beauty industry in the United States is big business. According to a video produced by Money magazine and reported on by various media outlets, the average woman, whether in St. Louis or elsewhere, will spend an estimated $15,000 on beauty products over the course of her life. Lipstick and mascara are among the most often purchased products – contributing to an average shopping trip spend of $43.

It might surprise many readers to learn that as popular as beauty products are, they are not necessarily subject to government regulation for safety. Many may contain chemicals known to cause illness or injury if exposure is too great. But the products don't typically come with warnings about that. In the absence of regulation and hazard information, you deserve to know that you may have cause to seek compensation if you are injured or become ill.

Under the heading of consumer protection and products liability, there are three main categories of defects. These are:

Design defects: Think of a portable fan with metal blades. The device has a plastic or metal guard around it, but the gaps in the frame are so large that fingers can fit through and be clipped.

Manufacturing defects: The Takata air bag case comes to mind as a significant example. Tens of millions of these air bags are now subject to recall because of inflation devices that degraded over time. Those that are bad could explode with such force that they send metal shrapnel into the passenger compartment.

Warning defects: Consumers have a right to expect that if there are known risks of using a product that there will be sufficient warning. Since that's not the case with many cosmetics, it is often only after the product has done damage that regulators are able to take action.

Even if a manufacturer isn't required to tell users about the potential risks of its product, it doesn't relieve the company of responsibility if normal use leads to injury or illness. To understand your options in such cases, it's best to consult an experienced attorney.

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