Category Archives: Aqua Net

Aqua Net hairspray lawsuit continues

This was an interesting day – my first deposition in a lawsuit.

Butler Pappas is the law firm representing Lornamead in this lawsuit, which I filed in Federal Court.

Lornamead is the maker of Aqua Net hairspray, and my lawsuit alleges that one of the ingredients in Aqua Net, Cyclohexylamine (listed officially as an extremely hazardous substance), caused a strong skin reaction similar to hives, strong itching, nausea, vomiting, a serious and life-threatening heart problem called A-fib (atrial fibrillation), loss of consciousness, and a hospital bill of over $35,000, and more.   Luckily this incident didn’t actually kill me.

Today’s deposition was for an attorney from Butler Pappas to gather as much information as possible from me for their defense against my lawsuit.   Initially estimated to take 4 hours, it ran a little over 5 hours, with a few breaks thrown in.

In essence their position seems to be that:

  • Lornamead doesn’t believe that Cyclohexylamine caused the symptoms
  • That they are using less Cyclohexylamine in their hairspray than is deemed toxic by the industry and US government
  • That they are not responsible for testing their product in the real world as long as it meets government and industry guidelines
  • That I have no medical proof that the Cyclohexylamine caused the symptoms
  • That there was no scientific testing done which proves that there was Cyclohexylamine in my bloodstream when I had the symptoms

There is of course an underlying and unstated position as well – whether or not they believe me, they cannot afford to admit that Aqua Net hairspray causes Cyclohexylamine poisoning.   If they did, it would open the floodgates for many other lawsuits from people who may have been poisoned by this, or have lost loved ones due to such poisoning.    (Consider why Big Tobacco fought so hard and long to deny the effects of tobacco.)

The deposition went over a lot of information on my life, my history of using Aqua Net hairspray, and specific incidents and facts.

A lot of emphasis was placed on questions relating to Material Safety Data Sheets on Cyclohexylamine, and on the concentration of Cyclohexylamine in Aqua Net hairspray, and on trying to get me to admit that the concentration was below the ‘safe’ concentration levels.

I pointed out that there aren’t actually any ‘safe’ concentration levels set – there are ‘toxic’ concentration levels at or beyond which it is known to be toxic.  This does not mean or even imply that concentrations below the known ‘toxic’ concentration level are ‘safe’.

More disturbing to the deposing attorney was my response when she asked what I deemed ‘safe’ or what I deemed to be ‘toxic’ concentration levels in Aqua Net hairspray.   It was a good and pertinent question, and is very relevant to this case, but my response was not what she wanted to hear.

As I explained, there is no simple answer to this, and I don’t know the answer to her question.  Furthermore, and more disturbing, her client (Lornamead) doesn’t know the answer either.  I asked them in written form about this over the last months as part of the discovery process in this lawsuit.   And they replied that they don’t know, and that it is nearly impossible to determine, but that they are within industry and government guidelines.   Translation: We didn’t do it.   If we did do it, we are not responsible because the government said it was OK.

Here are some of the factors involved in the ‘concentration levels’ question:

There is an initial concentration level of Cyclohexylamine in Aqua Net hairspray when it is manufactured.  This may or may not change before it is sold to the consumer.   But let’s assume that it is initially below known ‘toxic’ levels and remains constant until the consumer buys the product.

The concentration levels may go up or may decline as the content of the product is used.   This depends on whether the Cyclohexylamine is evenly distributed inside the product.   It might settle near the top or bottom or otherwise vary in concentration over time.

Then there is the question of what happens after it leaves the can and is sprayed in aerosol form onto your hair.   Does the Cyclohexylamine evaporate before it reaches your hair?

If it does, this is somewhat disturbing as Cyclohexylamine is particularly toxic when inhaled.   If it doesn’t, then it ends up on your hair, where the aerosol drops dry up and the residue holds your hair.

When I pointed out that the concentration level of the residue rises as the liquid part of the aerosol drops evaporates, I was asked how I know this.   I replied that this is elementary physics, and explained this in simple terms.   I was then asked a string of questions as to whether I was a physicist, a chemist, had laboratory training, had testified as an expert witness in lawsuits, etc.   I haven’t of course, but this doesn’t change the laws of physics.   When the solvent in a solution evaporates, the concentration level of the solute obviously rises, as is easily demonstrated.

And therein lies the problem.   Lornamead and their lawyers don’t know what the concentration of Cyclohexylamine is after the hairspray has been sprayed onto your hair, and has dried.   They don’t know what happens to the concentration of Cyclohexylamine if the dried residue is dissolved by sweat on your scalp.  They don’t know whether it appears in toxic levels at this point.

They haven’t done the research on this, and haven’t tested it.   They have told me in writing that they don’t know and haven’t tested this.

Unfortunately, I unwittingly tested this on myself.

I have concluded from many instances of personal experience that Aqua Net hairspray contains concentrations of Cyclohexylamine sufficient to cause severe and life-threatening Cyclohexylamine poisoning when sweat dissolves it during exercise, and spreads it from your hair onto your skin. The symptoms observed include severe skin reactions similar to hives, with strong itching, nausea and vomiting, heart arrhythmia (such as atrial fibrillation), kidney damage and loss of consciousness.

The Judge in this case recently ordered the case to mediation.  So we shall see what happens next – but I look forward to discussing this with them in mediation.


Lornamead lawsuit – Case Management meeting

I had a pleasant meeting by phone this morning with Julie Berlick of Butler Pappas Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP in Tampa, the law firm representing Lornamead.   It was a scheduled meeting to discuss the Case Management – basically an agreement as to the dates by which certain actions or parts of the process will be completed.

The resulting document – the Case Management Report – is being filed by Butler Pappas to the court as our agreed-upon timeline for the case.

So now the clock is ticking.

First order of business is to compile and send some data due in 4 weeks, and then to get going on the Discovery process:
demands for Admissions,
written interrogatories,
requests for production and
oral depositions.


Statement of Claim against Lornamead

Today I filed the actual detailed complaint against Lornamead.   This may be where an attorney experienced in toxic tort cases might have been valuable or indeed necessary – or I may have put it together well enough to continue the process.

This filing is also at the same time a Motion to Deny Lornamead’s Motion to Dismiss.   That is probably one too many “Motions” in one sentence – there must be a better phrase for this.

Comments on the complaint are welcome.

Lornameads Motion to Quash is denied.

OK, so getting Lornamead properly served did the trick.  Their motion to quash has been denied as moot.   Well, you can’t blame them for trying, since I didn’t do it right the first time.

Lornamead’s Motion to Dismiss

Lornamead filed a Motion to Dismiss yesterday, essentially saying that I have not given sufficient data and allegations to warrant a lawsuit or show that the court has jurisdiction.   Fair enough – the initial lawsuit document was just the needed essentials to get the process started.

Now to flesh this out with a lot of detail.   This is where the actual fun begins I think.

Lornamead lawsuit – process served

Oops – should have read up on the law some more.   Lornamead filed a motion to quash as they had not been properly served with the lawsuit.   I was under the mistaken impression that the fee I paid for filing included them being served.

So that was taken care of today – I got the needed documents from the Court’s website, filled them in, found a process server a mile from Lornamead’s registered agent’s address and had them served.   Got the proof and sent it to the court.

Gotta love the Internet!

Filing a lawsuit against Lornamead for life-threatening hairspray

I filed a lawsuit today, against Lornamead, Inc, the makers of Aqua Net hairspray. As you may have read, Aqua Net contains the chemical Cyclohexylamine, which is listed in the US as an Extremely Hazardous Substance.

I earlier asked Lornamead to cover the cost of hospitalization in 2008 for Atrial Fibrillation and loss of consciousness brought on by Aqua Net.   Lornamead referred the matter to their insurance company as an insurance claim, and the insurance company denied the claim.   Lornamead apparently intended to ignore the matter henceforth, so I decided they needed to be sued.

It has been an interesting learning experience up to this point.   I had the impression that getting a lawyer to sue someone for damages in the USA would not be that hard – but there are some serious obstacles.   Many big law firms specializing in personal injury cases were not interested.   As there is no precedent, it will take some serious work to prove that Cyclohexylamine caused the harm, and these law firms don’t want to take the risk of doing the work and not winning.   It is akin to being the first person to sue the tobacco companies – many people were told by the law firms that they had no chance of winning against Big Tobacco, but once one person did it against all odds, the law firms piled in.

Compound this with the reluctance of doctors to state that the hairspray was the cause.   Without scientific laboratory proof, they open themselves to lawsuits if they state that hairspray caused the atrial fibrillation and loss of consciousness.

I asked an attorney how to start a case if there is no precedent.  He said that this indeed is hard, since no attorney wants to be the first, unless there is a very high likelihood of winning.

So in the end I filed the lawsuit myself, pro se, in Federal Court.   That should be an interesting learning experience.


$35,000 Hairspray…Aqua Net…buyer beware

Aqua Net hairspray – buyer beware.

Here is an actually dangerous product in my opinion.   I speak from personal experience.

Using Aqua Net resulted in hospitalization and a health care bill of $35,000, caused by Cyclohexylamine poisoning, if available evidence is anything to go by.   Here are the facts – you decide for yourself.

For a number of years, I used Aqua Net Professional Hair Spray, Unscented Super Hold and Extra Super Hold. I chose Aqua Net because it was unscented.  And while Aqua Net works great at holding hair in place, and is unscented, there were seemingly severe repercussions from using this product.

In the first year of using Aqua Net, while vigorously playing table tennis, I suddenly developed hives and extreme itchiness.   Shortly thereafter I had to lay down to avoid passing out, and then passed out anyway for a few moments.   After a few minutes I felt better and was able to stand again.

While I didn’t realize the cause at the time, what happened was that the extreme motion and sweating from the exercise broke the hairspray hold, resulting in my hair falling in front of my eyes.   Repeatedly brushing my hair back with my sweaty hands transferred the hairspray to my skin.   At least one of the Aqua Net hairspray ingredients was absorbed through my skin.  Following this I had the hives, the itching – and my heart went into Atrial Fibrillation.   The Atrial Fibrillation resulted in very low blood pressure, feeling faint and eventually passing out.

Luckily, my heart rhythm reset by itself within minutes.   Not knowing the cause and not knowing that my heart was affected, I shrugged off the incident as maybe just an allergic reaction to something, maybe a new laundry detergent.

Over the next many years, the hives and itchiness returned every few months at times when I exercised hard and built up a sweat.   I was not able to pinpoint the cause, but badgered my wife into switching laundry detergent several times.

In 2008 I again developed a strong case of hives and severe itching while exercising on a treadmill.   Shortly after that, I felt faint, had to lay down, and eventually passed out, again for a few minutes.   This time though, the faintness persisted and I was unable to raise my head off the floor without beginning to black out.

A doctor determined that my pulse was faint and irregular and thought I might have Atrial Fibrillation.  I was taken to the hospital, where it was confirmed that I had Atrial Fibrillation.  Intensive care, many test and cardiac catheterization followed.  No heart disease or apparent cause of the Atrial Fibrillation was found.   Renal insufficiency (kidney problem) showed up in blood analysis, but no other issues.   After about 24 hours, my heart reset to normal rhythm by itself.   Diagnosis – Lone Atrial Fibrillation – meaning it was unexplained and apparently a one-time occurrence.

My suspicion turned to my Aqua Net hairspray while in the hospital and I resolved to not use it again.

I wore a heart monitor for a month, 24-7.   Despite exercise, sweating and normal activities, there was not the slightest heart problem or sign of arrhythmia or  fibrillation.  Nor hives or itching.   No kidney insufficiencies.  And no Aqua Net hairspray.

It has now been almost 3 years since I was hospitalized and stopped using Aqua Net hairspray, and there have been no signs of heart problems, no hives or itchiness, no feeling faint.   I can and do exercise and sweat heavily without any problems developing, and my wife has not heard a word in this time about switching laundry detergents.

Aqua Net & Cyclohexylamine

So what caused the hives and the Atrial Fibrillation?   Prime suspect number 1: Cyclohexylamine.   It is one of the ingredients in the Aqua Net hairspray I used.   Here is what you should know about it.

  • It is listed as an extremely hazardous substance.
  • Cyclohexylamine can affect you when inhaled and by passing through the skin.
  • Exposure can cause headache, dizziness, light-headedness, and passing out.
  • With repeated exposure the substance may have effects on the skin resulting in chronic disease (scleroderma). The substance may have effects on the blood, cardiovascular system, kidneys and liver, resulting in anaemia, cardiac disorders, kidney impairment and liver impairment.

It would seem that Cyclohexylamine – and Aqua Net hairspray – is dangerous to both your health and your finances and/or your health insure carrier.   At least that is my opinion.   One would think that a known extremely hazardous substance would be kept out of personal hygiene products.

If you or anyone you know has been diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and has been using Aqua Net hairspray, I would be interested in hearing about it.

For more information on Atrial Fibrillation, see also the blog at

by Philip Jepsen