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Benzene in Sunscreen Cancer Lawsuit

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Benzene, A Cancer-Causing Chemical, Found In Major Sunscreens
including Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena, Aveeno, plus CVS Health, Banana boat and other manufacturers.

Pharmaceutical product safety lawyers at the The Lidji Firm have filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of consumers who bought recalled benzene-tainted sunscreen products made by Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries Neutrogena and Aveeno.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction and damages on behalf of consumers who purchased a range of Neutrogena and Aveeno sun care products. An analysis by independent lab Valisure found alarming concentrations of benzene in at least 78 sun care products made by NeutrogenaCVS HealthBanana Boat and other manufacturers.

More than seven weeks after Valisure lab results were published, Johnson & Johnson announced a recall of five spray products and ordered retailers to stop selling Neutrogena’s sunscreens labeled Beach DefenseCool Dry SportInvisible DailyUltra Sheer and Aveeno Protect + Refresh.

The Food and Drug Administration permits traces of benzene on rare occasions in medical products that are deemed critical, but the chemical is not allowed in sun care products in any amount. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends protective equipment for those expecting to be exposed to benzene at concentrations above 0.1 parts per million for 10 hours or 1 ppm for 15 minutes. Some Neutrogena products contained benzene amounts of more than 6 ppm, according to Valisure.

While Valisure found benzene in both aerosol and lotion products, J&J’s voluntary recall is limited to spray products. A full list of the risky sunscreens can be found here.

Benzene In Sunscreen Lawsuit Lawyers

High levels of benzene—a known carcinogen—have been detected in several brands and batches of popular sunscreens and after-sun care products. Benzene is a colorless or light-yellow liquid chemical used in a variety of industrial and household products. But it is dangerous. Benzene exposure has been linked to cancer and other illnesses.

Is Neutrogena carcinogenic?

Multiple types of Neutrogena sunscreen were found by Valisure to contain benzene. Specific Neutrogena products in which benzene was detected include:

  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Weightless Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100+
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Weightless Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70
  • Neutrogena Beach Defense Oil-Free Body Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100
  • Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Body Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 60+
  • Neutrogena Beach Defense Spray Body Sunscreen SPF 50
  • Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Water-Resistant Sunscreen Spray SPF 70
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30;
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 45
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant Sunscreen SPF 70
  • Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Water-Resistant Sunscreen Spray SPF 50

Johnson & Johnson, the company that owns Neutrogena, issued a voluntary recall of some Neutrogena sunscreen products in response to Valisure testing results. J&J said that benzene is not an ingredient in any of its sunscreen products and that the recall is being done out of “an abundance of caution.”

What you should know about Benzene in sunscreen?

Is there benzene in sunscreen?

Not all sunscreens contain benzene. However, Valisure’s research indicates that many popular sunscreen brands do contain benzene. These brands include:

  • Neutrogena;
  • Sun Bum
  • CVS Health;
  • Fruit of the Earth
  • Raw Elements
  • SunBurnt
  • Goodsense
  • Banana Boat
  • TopCare;
  • Everyday
  • EltaMD
  • Babyganics
  • Walgreens
  • Raw Elements
  • Coppertone
  • Max Block
  • Solimo
  • Equate
  • LaRoche-Posay
  • Aveeno
  • Up & Up

Valisure analyzed nearly 300 unique batches from dozens of sunscreen brands and detected benzene in 78 product batches, including 26 products with benzene levels between 0.1 parts per million (ppm) and 2 ppm, and 14 products with benzene levels over 2 ppm. “Even benzene at 0.1 ppm in a sunscreen could expose people to excessively high nanogram amounts of benzene,” Dr. Christopher Bunick told Valisure.

Which sunscreen has no benzene?

The sunscreens that Valisure tested do not list benzene as an active ingredient. Therefore, Valisure concludes, benzene-positive sunscreens may have somehow been contaminated. But many batches of sunscreen that Valisure tested contain no detectable benzene, including brands by the following manufacturers:
  • Equate
  • Neutrogena
  • Up & Up
  • Supergoop!
  • Banana Boat
  • Revlon
  • Sun Bum
  • Hawaiian Tropic
  • Max Block
  • Aveeno
Notably, many of the brands with sunscreen products on this list also make sunscreens that tested positive for benzene. You can see the full list of sunscreen batches for which benzene was not detectedhere

What should I do if I’ve been exposed to benzene?

For short-term exposure to high levels of benzene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting away from the source of benzene, removing any clothing that may have benzene on it, washing exposed areas with soap and water, and getting medical care as soon as possible.

If you think you may have been exposed to benzene over a long period of time, speak to a doctor. Benzene can be measured in the blood or breath, and breakdown products of benzene can be measured in the urine. These tests can only detect recent exposures to benzene. They cannot predict possible health effects.

However, if you use a sunscreen that contains benzene and have been diagnosed with cancer, our Benzene in Sunscreen lawsuit lawyers are ready to review your case with no upfront fee. We may be able to help you.

We are ready to file your claim for injuries you may have incurred. Submit your case or call us now (800) 223-7455.

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Carlos G. Galliani | Attorney | The LIDJI Law Firm | Personal Injury Attorney | Dallas Houston Texas

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Benzene in Sunscreen Lawsuit | The Lidji Firm | Personal Injury Lawyer

Latest News on Sunscreen Cancer Lawsuit

Updated: July 16, 2021

Johnson & Johnson Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Benzene-Tainted Neutrogena and Aveeno Sunscreen Products

Product safety watchdogs seek injunction, demand answers for J&J's delay in recall.

Pharmaceutical product-safety lawyers at the Beasley Allen law firm have filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of consumers who bought recalled benzene-tainted sunscreen products made by Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries Neutrogena and Aveeno.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction and damages on behalf of consumers who purchased a range of Neutrogena and Aveeno sun-care products. An analysis by independent lab Valisure found alarming concentrations of benzene in at least 78 sun-care products made by Neutrogena, CVS Health, Banana Boat and other manufacturers.

“It should not have taken the publication of a third party’s tests to bring this critically important information to the public, and J&J’s response so far is not enough. We will find out how long J&J knew about these concerns and why it took so long to take action,” said product safety trial lawyer Scott Lidji, at The Lidji Firm.

More than seven weeks after the lab results were published, Johnson & Johnson announced a recall of five spray products and ordered retailers to stop selling Neutrogena’s sunscreens labeled Beach Defense, Cool Dry Sport, Invisible Daily, Ultra Sheer and Aveeno Protect + Refresh. 

The Food and Drug Administration permits traces of benzene on rare occasions in medical products that are deemed critical, but the chemical is not allowed in sun-care products in any amount. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends protective equipment for those expecting to be exposed to benzene at concentrations above 0.1 parts per million for 10 hours or 1 ppm for 15 minutes. Some Neutrogena products contained benzene amounts of more than 6 ppm, according to Valisure.

While Valisure found benzene in both aerosol and lotion products, J&J’s voluntary recall is limited to spray products. A full list of the risky sunscreens can be found here

Benzene is a common industrial chemical that has long been linked to leukemia, a deadly form of blood cancer. The discovery raises grave concerns because chemicals in sunscreen are known to be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream – even after only one application. Since children’s skin is more permeable than adults, the threat of absorption of harmful chemicals is even greater for them. For more information, visit factsaboutsunscreen.com.  

Neutrogena Sunscreen Recalled After Tests Show Sunscreens Contain Benzene in 2021

In response, Johnson and Johnson announced on July 14 that it is voluntarily recalling select Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol spray sunscreens “out of an abundance of caution.” 

The recall affects the following products: 

  • Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Invisible Daily defense aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen
  • Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen

If you have these products, Johnson and Johnson recommends you dispose of them and contact the company for a refund.

This 2021 Neutrogena sunscreen recall leads to the situation that Johnson and Johnson is facing a class-action lawsuit.

About Lidji Law Firm

Headquartered in Dallas, TX, The Lidji Firm is a national leader in medical product liability litigation, with a staff of experienced attorneys and expert staff committed to ensuring the safety of consumer and medical products. 

Sunscreen Cancer Lawyers at The Lidji Firm

Sunscreen Cancer Lawyers at The Lidji Firm are ready to review whether you or a family member may be entitled to financial compensation. The Lidji Firm is currently accepting Sunscreen Cancer cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one has suffered one or more of these complications, you may be entitled to a cash award and compensation for medical expenses. For a free confidential consultation with Sunscreen Cancer Lawyers at our law firm, Submit your case or call us now (800) 223-7455.

Benzene and Cancer Risk Information

Everything you need to know on Benzene in Sunscreen Lawsuit

What is benzene?

Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Benzene is formed from natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires, but most exposure to benzene results from human activities.

Benzene is among the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States. It is used mainly as a starting material in making other chemicals, including plastics, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. In the past it was also commonly used as an industrial solvent (a substance that can dissolve or extract other substances) and as a gasoline additive, but these uses have been greatly reduced in recent decades.

Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil and gasoline (and therefore motor vehicle exhaust), as well as cigarette smoke.

Does benzene cause cancer?

Benzene is known to cause cancer, based on evidence from studies in both people and lab animals. The link between benzene and cancer has largely focused on leukemia and other cancers of blood cells.

What do studies show?

Researchers use 2 main types of studies to try to determine if a substance causes cancer.

  • Studies in people:One type of study looks at cancer rates in different groups of people. Such a study might compare the cancer rate in a group exposed to a substance to the cancer rate in a group not exposed to it, or compare it to the cancer rate in the general population. But sometimes it can be hard to know what the results of these studies mean, because many other factors might affect the results.
  • Lab studies:In studies done in the lab, animals are exposed to a substance (often in very large doses) to see if it causes tumors or other health problems. Researchers might also expose normal human cells in a lab dish to the substance to see if it causes the types of changes that are seen in cancer cells. It’s not always clear if the results from these types of studies will apply to humans, but lab studies are a good way to find out if a substance might possibly cause cancer.

Often neither type of study provides conclusive evidence on its own, so researchers usually look at both human and lab-based studies when trying to figure out if something causes cancer.

Studies in people

Rates of leukemia, particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML), have been found to be higher in studies of workers exposed to high levels of benzene, such as those in the chemical, shoemaking, and oil refining industries.

Some studies have also suggested links to childhood leukemia (particularly AML) as well as acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and other blood-related cancers (such as multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma) in adults. However, the evidence is not as strong for these cancers.

There is much less evidence linking benzene to any other type of cancer.

Studies done in the lab

When inhaled or swallowed, benzene has been found to cause different types of tumors in lab animals such as rats and mice. These results support the finding of an excess risk of leukemia in humans. However, most studies in humans have not found an increased risk of cancers other than leukemia among people with higher exposures.

Benzene has been shown to cause chromosome changes in bone marrow cells in the lab. (The bone marrow is where new blood cells are made.) Such changes are commonly found in human leukemia cells.

How are people exposed to benzene?

The main way people are exposed is by breathing in air containing benzene. Benzene can also be absorbed through the skin during contact with a source such as gasoline, but because liquid benzene evaporates quickly, this is less common.

People can be exposed to benzene:

  • At work
  • In the general environment
  • Through the use of some consumer products

The highest exposures have typically been in the workplace, although these have decreased greatly over the last several decades due to federal and state regulations. Some other exposures have also gone down over time, such as the amount of benzene allowed in gasoline.

Workplace exposures

Workers in industries that make or use benzene may be exposed to this chemical. These include the rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturers, and gasoline-related industries. Benzene is also used to make some types of lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. Other people who may be exposed to benzene at work include steel workers, printers, lab technicians, gas station employees, and firefighters. Federal regulations limit exposure to benzene in the workplace (see below).

Community exposures

People can be exposed to benzene in the environment from gasoline fumes, automobile exhaust, emissions from some factories, and waste water from certain industries. Benzene is commonly found in air in both urban and rural areas, but the levels are usually very low. Exposures can be higher for people in enclosed spaces with unventilated fumes from gasoline, glues, solvents, paints, and art supplies. Areas of heavy traffic, gas stations, and areas near industrial sources may also have higher air levels.

Cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke are important sources of exposure to benzene. Cigarette smoke accounts for about half of the exposure to benzene in the United States. Benzene levels in rooms containing tobacco smoke can be many times higher than normal.

People can also be exposed to benzene in contaminated drinking water and some foods (although the levels are usually very low).

Does benzene cause any other health problems?

Benzene is a potentially dangerous chemical. High levels of exposure can cause both short-term and long-term health effects.

Short-term effects

Breathing in high doses of benzene can affect the nervous system, which can lead to drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, tremors, confusion, and/or unconsciousness. Consuming foods or fluids contaminated with high levels of benzene can cause vomiting, stomach irritation, dizziness, sleepiness, convulsions, and rapid heart rate. In extreme cases, inhaling or swallowing very high levels of benzene can be deadly.

Exposure to benzene liquid or vapor can irritate the skin, eyes, and throat. Skin exposure to benzene can result in redness and blisters.

Long-term effects

Long-term exposure to benzene mainly harms the bone marrow, the soft, inner parts of bones where new blood cells are made. This can result in:

  • Anemia (a low red blood cell count), which can cause a person to feel weak and tired.
  • A low white blood cell count, which can lower the body’s ability to fight infections and might even be life-threatening.
  • A low blood platelet count, which can lead to excess bruising and bleeding.

There is also some evidence that long-term exposure to benzene might harm reproductive organs. Some women who have breathed in high levels of benzene for many months have had irregular menstrual periods and ovary shrinkage, but it is not known for sure if benzene caused these effects. It is not known if benzene exposure affects the fetus in pregnant women or fertility in men.

Are benzene levels regulated?

Several government agencies regulate benzene levels and exposures.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency responsible for health and safety regulations in most workplaces. OSHA limits exposure to benzene in the air in most workplaces to 1 ppm (part per million) during an average workday and a maximum of 5 ppm over any 15-minute period. When working at potentially higher exposure levels, OSHA requires employers to provide personal protective equipment such as respirators.

The EPA limits the percentage of benzene allowed in gasoline to an average of 0.62% by volume (with a maximum of 1.3%).

The EPA limits concentrations of benzene in drinking water to 5 ppb (parts per billion). Some states may have lower limits. Likewise, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets a limit of 5 ppb in bottled water.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) considers any product containing 5% or more by weight of benzene to be hazardous, requiring special labeling.

Can I limit my exposure to benzene?

If you are concerned about benzene, there are several ways you can limit your exposure.

Stay away from cigarette smoke. If you are a smoker, try to quit. Cigarette smoke is a major source of benzene exposure.

Try to limit gasoline fumes by pumping gas carefully and using gas stations with vapor recovery systems that capture the fumes. Avoid skin contact with gasoline.

When possible, limiting the time you spend near idling car engines can help lower your exposure to exhaust fumes, which contain benzene (as well as other potentially harmful chemicals).

Use common sense around any chemicals that might contain benzene. Limit or avoid exposure to fumes from solvents, paints, and art supplies, especially in unventilated spaces.

If you are exposed at your workplace, talk to your employer about limiting your exposure through process changes (such as replacing the benzene with another solvent or enclosing the benzene source) or by using personal protective equipment. If needed, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) can provide more information or make an inspection.

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