Product Liability

Sunscreen products recalled over Benzene contamination and risk of cancer

September 2, 2021

Dr. Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, who is an associate professor of Dermatology at Yale University commented, “there is not a safe level of Benzene that can exist in sunscreen products. Even benzene at 0.1 ppm in a sunscreen could expose people to excessively high nanogram amounts of benzene." The FDA is currently investigating the issue.

Johnson & Johnson has come under scrutiny once again after high levels of benzene, an industrial chemical and known human carcinogen, were detected in several of its NEUTROGENA® and AVEENO® aerosol sunscreen products. The alarming findings prompted a recall of the contaminated batches, as well as class actions in both California and New York federal courts. The recall was announced by Johnson & Johnson on July 14, 2021.  

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes the danger of benzene and has said sunscreen products should not contain the chemical at all because of its unacceptable toxicity. According to Valisure LLC, the lab that first tested and detected the contaminated sunscreen products, “27% of samples tested contained detectable benzene, ranging in concentrations from 0.11 parts per million (ppm) to 6.26 ppm (1).  

Dr. Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, who is an associate professor of Dermatology at Yale University commented, “there is not a safe level of Benzene that can exist in sunscreen products. Even benzene at 0.1 ppm in a sunscreen could expose people to excessively high nanogram amounts of benzene” (2). The FDA is currently investigating the issue.  

The recall includes all lots of five NEUTROGENA® and AVEENO® aerosol sunscreen product lines to the consumer level, which specifically include:  

  • 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  

Consumers should stop using the affected products immediately and appropriately discard them. Consumers should also contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have any questions, concerns or have experienced any problems related to using any of the sunscreen products affected by the recall (3).

Main Street Law Firm will continue to monitor this case and provide litigation updates in the future as we learn more.

References

  1. https://www.valisure.com/blog/valisure-news/valisure-detects-benzene-in-sunscreen/
  2. Ibid
  3. https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/johnson-johnson-consumer-inc-issues-voluntary-recall-specific-neutrogenar-and-aveenor-aerosol#recall-announcement

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter to receive important legal updates and class action refund opportunities delivered straight to your inbox.