- REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
The Honest Company is finally removing a controversial ingredient from its laundry detergents after initially saying it didn’t plan to do so.
According to a new story out from the Wall Street Journal’s Serena Ng, Honest Company – Jessica Alba’s $1.7 billion household products company – is planning to introduce a new detergent in 2017 that’s free of an ingredient called sodium coco sulfate. The ingredient is said to contain a large amount of sodium lauryl sulfate, a cleaning agent that Honest Company has said in the past it doesn’t use at all.
The fact that Honest Company was using the ingredient first came to light in March, when the Journal reported that lab tests found SLS in the detergents. The news was problematic for Honest Company, in that it thereby defies the central pitch of the company: that it sells “honestly safe, effective essentials for family and home.”
Alba’s company came under fire last summer, too, when people claimed that its sunscreen didn’t work.
Honest Company’s issues arise at a tense time for the startup, which filed to go public earlier this year. This month, Recode reported that the company was planning to sell itself to Proctor & Gamble or Unilever. Now, the Journal reports that Clorox and Johnson & Johnson might be interested in buying the company as well.
“Our internal R&D team, led by Dr. Laurence Dryer, consistently works to innovate across our entire product line while adhering to The Honest Company’s uncompromising safety standards,” Honest Company wrote in a statement. “As part of this process, we are continuing to work on a new breakthrough cleaning line, including dish care, laundry and household cleaners, utilizing an advanced sugar-based surfactant technology to further improve the efficacy of our products.”