shop shelves full of sunscreens with benzene

Consumers Should be ‘Very Concerned’ about Sunscreens With Benzene

Summer brings people outdoors and into the warm sunshine. It also puts them at risk for skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) strongly encourages us to use broad-spectrum sunscreen liberally all over our bodies—enough to fill a shot glass—and reapply every two hours or more to protect against UVA and UVB rays. But is your sunscreen safe?

On May 25, 2021, online pharmacy Valisure announced that it had detected benzene, a known carcinogen, in 78 of the 294 sunscreen and after-sun care products it tested. Fourteen lots had benzene concentrations that exceeded the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-restricted concentration limit of 2 parts per million (ppm), and some had levels up to three times that amount. A list of affected sunscreens with benzene can be found here.

“We should be very concerned about these findings,” says Beasley Allen lawyer David B. Byrne III. “Benzene is a toxic chemical. Benzene exposure—either through inhalation or through direct skin contact—can cause blood-related cancers such as leukemia and lymphomas.”

Benzene is a chemical found in a variety of industrial products and even in some household products. Benzene exposure has been linked to cancers in adults and children including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Valisure filed a citizen petition with the FDA calling on the agency to recall the contaminated sunscreens with benzene and warn the public about the risks these sunscreens pose. The FDA, in a statement to The Washington Post, said, “The FDA takes seriously any safety concerns raised about products we regulate, including sunscreen. While the agency evaluates the submitted citizen petition, we will continue to monitor the sunscreen marketplace and manufacturing efforts to help ensure the availability of safe sunscreens for U.S. consumers.”

“Sunscreens play an important role in blocking UV radiation from being absorbed into the skin. Concerningly, studies have shown that the chemicals in sunscreen can enter the bloodstream after application,” Byrne says. “We rely on sunscreen manufacturers to ensure their products do not contain harmful ingredients. And when it is found that they do, we expect the FDA to issue recalls in order to protect public health.”

Benzene in Sunscreen 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. Exposure to benzene in sunscreen has been linked to cancer and other illnesses.

Our firm has the resources to represent clients throughout the country while never losing sight of the individual. If you or a loved have regularly used sunscreen and have been diagnosed with cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma, we can help.

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