Millions of people apply sunscreen regularly, particularly in hot areas or in summer. However, tests showed that this popular product could contain a potentially carcinogenic chemical. According to the Valisure Report, some sunscreen products include benzene, a human carcinogen.
Benzene Contaminated Sunscreen Lawsuits are claims against Johnson & Johnson and other manufacturers. Join the Many aims to hold these companies accountable for distributing products with high benzene levels.
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) considers benzene a human carcinogen. This resulted from evidence from the American Cancer Society that it can lead to AML (acute myeloid leukemia).
Further studies also link benzene to:
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- CLL (Chronic lymphocytic leukemia)
- ALL (Acute lymphocytic leukemia)
Benzene causes cancer by suppressing the immune system and promoting chronic inflammation.
Benzene in Sunscreen
Benzene is under Class I solvents, which typically interfere with how cells function in the body. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends PPE where there’s benzene at 0.1 ppm [part per million].
The effects of benzene present as blood-related ailments or cancers like anemia and leukemia. Benzene also affects your immune system by causing abnormal cells to grow. Such an ailment increases the risk of immune disorders, excessive bleeding, infections, and cancer.
According to FDA researchers, the skin absorbs significant amounts of some ingredients, which end up in the blood. Valisure discovered that various sunscreen products have benzene exceeding the two ppm allowed by FDA.
Multiple sunscreen products have benzene, a carcinogen, yet the marketing says it prevents skin cancer. They submitted a citizen petition to the FDA, leading to product recalls several weeks later.
Valisure organized lab tests on various sunscreen products from about 69 brands. It identified benzene in multiple SPF compositions of sunscreens, such as:
- Aveeno Baby Lotion Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum
- Babyganics Kid’s Sunscreen Continuous Spray
- After-sun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel by CVS Health
- Sheer Mist Spray Broad Spectrum by CVS Health
- After-sunAloe Vera Soothing Spray by CVS Health
- Ultra Sheer Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Lotion by CVS
- Beach Guard Sun Sunscreen Lotion by CVS
- Coppertone Whipped Sunscreen Lotion Spray
- Live Better by CVS Body Mineral Spray Sunscreen
- Ultra Sports Clear Sunscreen Spray by Banana Boat
- UltraMist Deep Tanning Dry Oil Continuous Clear Spray by Banana Boat
- Kids Max Protect & Play Sunscreen CSpray by Banana Boat
- Protective Dry Oil Clear Sunscreen Spray with Coconut Oil by Banana Boat
- Simply Protect Kids Sunscreen Spray by Banana Boat
- Kids Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Lotion by Equate
- Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel
- Goodsense Sunscreen Lotion
- Sport Sunscreen Lotion Water Resistance Blue by Max Block
- Aero Broad-Spectrum Full-Body Sunscreen Spray by EltaMD UV
- Kids Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Lotion by Equate
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen Lotion Spray
- Everyday Ultimate Sheer Sunscreen Lotion by TopCare
- Ultimate Sheer Sun Lotion Sunscreen by TopCare
- Sport Sunscreen Lotion by TopCare
- Ethical Zinc Natural Clear Zinc Sunscreen
- Eco Formula Sunscreen Lotion by RawElements
- Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant Sunscreen Lotion by Neutrogena
- Max Block Sport Sunscreen Lotion Water Resistance Blue
- Broad Spectrum Water Resistant Sunscreen Lotion by Max Block
- Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum Spray by Neutrogena
- Ultra Sheer Weightless Sunscreen Spray by Neutrogena
- Neutrogena Beach Defense Oil-Free Body Sunscreen Spray
- Clear Aloe Vera Gel by Up & Up
- SunBurnt Advanced After-Sun Gel
- Oxy Free Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Lotion by Sun Bum
- Cool Down Gel by Sun Bum
- After Sun Cool Down Aloe Vera Spray by Sun Bum
- Solimo Sheer Face Sunscreen Lotion
- After Sun Gel by Walgreens
- Sport Lotion Sunscreen by Walgreens
- Sunscreen Sport by Walgreens
- Broad Spectrum Sport by Walgreens
Exposure to excessive amounts of benzene can cause leukemia and various cancers. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) requires workers to wear PPE if there’s a risk of benzene exposure.
In May 2021, Valisure announced finding benzene in various after-sun care products and sunscreens. About 27% of the 294 tested sunscreen products had benzene, with some levels about three times the FDA limit.
Valisure previously identified the potential carcinogen NDMA in ranitidine products such as Zantac. There were massive recalls of this medication and a final withdrawal of all ranitidine products from the market on 2nd April 2020.
Finding carcinogens such as benzene in after-sun care products and sunscreens is concerning. Benzene should not be a sunscreen ingredient, given this high risk. Dr. Michael Kasper, the director of radiation oncology for Lynn Cancer Institute, cautions of other ways it can occur.
He highlighted that benzene contamination could happen if it’s a byproduct of other chemicals. Chemicals such as homosalate, oxybenzone, and avobenzone can break down naturally. He shared these insights in an article Baptist Health South Florida published.
The Valisure findings led to recalls of Coppertone and Johnson & Johnson’s Aveeno and Neutrogena products. Later on, in November, Valisure discovered benzene in some antiperspirants and deodorants. The discovery also led to recalls of selected Unilever and P&G products, such as some Secret and Old Spice antiperspirants and aerosol deodorants.
Product liability lawyers from Join the Many are now conducting reviews of sunscreen cancer lawsuits. You can also participate if you developed these illnesses due to exposure to benzene:
- Multiple Myeloma
- Aplastic Anemia
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (AKL)
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)
- Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
- Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL)
- Lung Cancer
The initial trial outcomes will not apply to everyone who pursues a sunscreen lawsuit. However, they will have a significant effect on the following settlements. The manufacturers will likely agree to payments to prevent every case from reaching a jury trial in the future.
Valisure submitted a citizen’s petition to the FDA, asking the agency to send out recalls for products with high benzene levels. It included about seventy-eight after-sun care products and sunscreen manufactured by various brands.
The FDA has not yet issued extensive sunscreen recalls. Only some manufacturers voluntarily pulled out sunscreens containing benzene from the market.
On 30th September, Coppertone volunteered to recall some batches of five products. They manufactured these recalled batches made between 10th January and 15th June.
They include Coppertone’s:
- Pure & Simple Baby aerosol sunscreen spray
- Sport Spray aerosol sunscreen spray
- Pure & Simple Kids aerosol sunscreen spray
- Pure & Simple aerosol sunscreen spray
- Sport Mineral aerosol sunscreen spray
In Valisure’s press release, Dr. Christopher Bunick, a professor of dermatology at Yale, stresses that there’s no safe benzene level.
He stated that benzene levels of 0.1 ppm (parts per million) in sunscreen could lead to exposure to excessively high benzene amounts. The FDA acknowledges the high risk and lists benzene as a Class 1 solvent due to increased toxicity. This label carries the most seriousness, so benzene should not be present in drugs or drug products.
Some illnesses caused by benzene have no symptoms until several years after exposure. In most cases, people who receive a cancer diagnosis after benzene exposure are unaware of the possible connection.
History of Benzene Contaminated Lawsuits
Although the findings of benzene in sunscreen are new, the last months have been full of activity. Besides the recalls of major manufacturers, outraged consumers continue filing lawsuits.
The Eastern District of New York received a federal class action lawsuit against Edgewell Personal Care Company, Chabla v. Edgewell Personal Care Company.
The consumer class action claims that Banana Boat Spray sunscreens by Edgewell pose high health risks. Benzene in these spray products exposes sunscreen users to various health risks.
The primary claim in the class suit is that Edgewell did not list benzene as an ingredient of their products. The class action seeks to recover the participants’ $5 million in damages.
Chabla states that Edgewell misled consumers by omitting benzene as an ingredient. They also marketed various SPF sunscreen products as safe. This was despite knowing that skin absorption makes benzene a significant risk factor for cancer.
Instead of individual people filing cases, the class action wants certification to be a New York subclass and a nationwide class.
The benzene sunscreen lawsuit alleges claims such as:
- Fraudulent concealment
- Breach of implied warranty of merchantability
- Deceptive practices or acts under the General Business Law Section 349 in New York
- Unjust enrichment
- Breach of express warranty under warranty laws in multiple states
- False advertising under the General Business Law Section 350 in New York
Another recent class action against Edgewell is in the Southern District of Florida, Zapatero v. Energizer Holdings, LLC. It claims that the failure to include benzene as an ingredient, the company violated the state and federal laws in California.
The basis is that you purchased the sunscreen product without knowing it had benzene. You assumed the label on the sunscreen packages was correct and wouldn’t end up buying the product if you knew it had a carcinogen.
Buying a product with an identified carcinogen caused you to suffer injuries.
Who Qualifies to File a Benzene Sunscreen Claim?
Benzene lawsuits are often complex and require lawyers who excel at medical, labor, and environmental law. Join the Many connects you with experts who can prove a connection between your cancer and benzene exposure.
Everyone who filed a claim for a sunscreen with benzene will get financial compensation if the case is successful. The companies will be liable for acting intentionally, recklessly, or negligently.
This means the sunscreen manufacturers were aware of the benzene present in their products. They decided to ignore it for convenience or save on expensive testing costs.
Lawsuits claiming injuries like cancer are often individual lawsuits. Unlike class action suits, these lawsuits are separate, so you’ll need your attorney.
Due to high numbers of benzene sunscreen lawsuits, judges could merge them into MDL or multidistrict litigation. If you’re looking to get a refund for the buying price of a recalled product, you can pursue a class-action case.
If you used sunscreen containing benzene and then developed cancer or acute myeloid leukemia, you may have a valid case. However, you must meet a few requirements to be eligible to file a benzene lawsuit, including:
- You must use a benzene aerosol sunscreen over five years and above
- You must receive a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia diagnosis
If you’re considering pursuing such a lawsuit, ensure you use the benzene-contaminated product for 50 or more days yearly. The main reason is that long-term benzene exposure has a more distinct connection to cancer.
If you fulfill these requirements, you have a right to compensation from the manufacturer for the harmful sunscreen you use. You can pursue a wrongful death claim in fatal cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma or fatal leukemia.
The expected lawsuits against these companies include negligence and liability claims such as:
- Gross negligence
- Negligence per se
- Defective design
- Fraudulent misrepresentation
- Improper warning labels
- Manufacturing defect
- Fraudulent concealment
- Deceptive trade practices
- Breach of implied warranties
- Consumer fraud
- Negligent misrepresentation
- Failure to warn
You Are Not Alone
A cancer diagnosis is often devastating, especially considering the treatment ahead. Sunscreen product manufacturers could have prevented cancer cases by following the proper procedures.
Perhaps you or your loved one got cancer or blood issues after applying a recalled sunscreen. Remember, you deserve compensation to afford treatment and better healthcare and treatment. Join the Many believes that the justice system is here for people in situations like yours.