Popular Kombucha Brand Contains ‘Forever Chemicals,’ Class Action Alleges

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Health-Ade kombuchas promise to promote a “happy gut.” But one consumer alleges they actually contain dangerous chemicals.

A range of popular kombucha drinks that promise to support health and “restore body and mind” really contain harmful chemicals associated with thyroid disorders and cancer, according to a proposed class action lawsuit. 

New York kombucha drinker Alanna Morton filed the lawsuit against Health-Ade LLC on Jan. 9, alleging violations of state and federal consumer laws.

Health-Ade makes a range of kombuchas in flavors such as “Cayenne Cleanse” and “Ginger Pineapple Belly Reset.” But Morton alleges the products aren’t as healthy as they sound. 

Instead, she says independent lab testing has found some Health-Ade kombuchas contain dangerous levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.” 

What are forever chemicals?

PFAS are a family of more than 4,000 chemical compounds manufactured by humans, the lawsuit says. 

They are known as “forever chemicals” due to their extreme persistence and bioaccumulation in human bodies, Morton says. “These PFAS chemicals are all dangerous to human health if ingested, even at very low levels.” 

The CDC has outlined a host of health effects associated with PFAS exposure, including cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease. 

Non-stick chemicals pose extra problems

The lawsuit says the specific PFAS allegedly found Health-Ade’s products are of particular concern, having caused thyroid and liver issues in laboratory animal studies. 

Morton says perfluorobutanoic acid was found in the drinks. The acid is a type of PFAS typically used in non-stick and stain-resistant food packaging and carpets, as well as photographic film, the lawsuit states.

“No reasonable consumer would expect that a product marketed for one’s health would contain dangerous PFAS, which are indisputably linked to harmful health effects in humans,” Morton says.

Lawsuit alleges Health-Ade kombucha drinks are misleading

Morton says she bought a Health-Ade Kombucha Ginger Pineapple Belly Reset at a gas station in Liberty, New York in August last year. At the time, she says she saw the label and believed that the product supported “health” and a “happy gut,” and was “natural” and “organic.”   

“Had Defendant disclosed on the label that the products contained PFAS chemicals, and the harms that can result from ingesting PFAS chemicals, she would not have purchased the product at all,” the lawsuit says.

Morton is looking to represent anyone in the United States who bought Health-Ade with PFAS in them. She’s seeking certification of the class action, damages, fees, costs and a jury trial.

The plaintiffs and proposed class are represented by Joshua D. Arisohn, Philip L. Fraietta and Alec M. Leslie of Bursor & Fisher P.A. 

The Health-Ade PFAs class action lawsuit is Morton et al v. Health-Ade LLC, Case No. 7:24-cv-00173, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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