Benzene in Sunscreen: Neutrogena Products

J&J Faces Class Action Over Benzene-Tainted Sunscreen Products

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 in 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.”

Andy Birchfield, Mass Torts Section Head

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 benzene in sunscreen products can be found here.

“When these kinds of safety failures occur, the American public deserves a swift and transparent accounting of what happened and what is being done to ensure it doesn’t happen again. J&J’s response falls far short of that.”

– Beasley Allen attorney David Byrne

The lawsuit Johanna Dominguez and Sharron Meijer et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 3:21-CV-05419. In addition to Beasley Allen, the legal team includes Walsh Law PLLC and Keller Lenkner LLC.

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. Benzene exposure 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 one have regularly used sunscreen and been diagnosed with cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma, we can help.

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