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Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop Brand Penalized Over Suspect Vaginal Egg Health Claims
The products include two vaginal eggs, the controversial minerals advertised as having health benefits for women, and an essential oil, claimed to be a cure for depression.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s company and "lifestyle brand" Goop has agreed to pay out six figures in penalties as part of a consumer protection settlement reached this week over false claims with regards to the supposed health benefits of two of the vaginal eggs, as well as an essential oil mixture the company sells.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office announced the settlement on Tuesday, saying that the complaint was filed Friday in Napa County, California, and focused on three products: The Jade Egg, Rose Quartz Egg, and Inner Essence Flower Blend.
“Goop advertised that the Jade and Rose Quartz eggs could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control. Goop advertised that the Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend could help prevent depression,” the Orange County DA said in a statement.
The office is one of 10 county prosecutors that together make up the California Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force. Goop settled the suit with the task force on Tuesday, and agreed to pay $145,000 in civil penalties, in addition to granting refunds to those customers who purchased any of the three products in question between January 12, 2017 and August 31, 2017.
Goop is also prohibited from making claims about how well their products work “without possessing competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates the claims,” and from making or selling medical devices that are not branded correctly, unapproved, or advertised falsely.
“The health and money of Santa Clara County residents should never be put at risk by misleading advertising,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement issued by the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office, another member of the task force. “We will vigilantly protect consumers against companies that promise health benefits without the support of good science…or any science.”
Goop addressed the settlement in a statement to SFGATE.com: “While Goop believes there is an honest disagreement about these claims, the company wanted to settle this matter quickly and amicably.”
Heather Wilson, a spokeswoman for the company, also told the outlet that the company has not received any complaints about the three product’s claims.
All three products still seem to be available on the Goop website. The Jade Egg, with a listed price of $66, is now described as a product “used by women to increase sexual energy and pleasure,” while the $55 Rose Quartz Egg is described as being “made of heart-activating rose quartz” and “associated with the heart chakra.” The Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend, however, is currently sold out.
Medical professionals have regularly warned consumers about the potential risks such products carry. One of Goop—and Paltrow’s—biggest critics, Dr. Jen Gunter based in San Francisco, warned that the porous nature of jade as a material could lead to bad bacteria—such as those that cause toxic shock syndrome or even bacterial vaginosis—getting stuck on the egg’s surface.
“The stones are really porous, so I’m not sure how it could be cleaned or sterilized between uses,” she said, according to Health.com. “[Potential bacteria being lodged in is] especially an issue when one of the recommended ways to use it is sleeping with it in. We don’t recommend that tampons or menstrual cups be left in for longer than 12 hours and those are either disposable or cleanable.”
[Photo: Gwyneth Paltrow speaks onstage at Cultivating the Art of Taste & Style at the Los Angeles Theatre on November 19, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. By Mike Windle/Getty Images for Airbnb]