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The Risks of Benzene Exposure in Sunscreen

Sunscreen products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and marketed as a protectant against skin cancers. Both the American Academy of Dermatology and the Center for Disease Control advise that exposure to ultraviolet light rays from the sun cause 80-90% of skin cancers. While skin cancer is prevalent across the nation, especially in the intense Florida sun, there are concerns about the safety of certain chemical ingredients in many sunscreen brands.

Homosalate, avobenzone, and oxybenzone are examples of toxic chemicals used in sunscreen products and associated with benzene contamination. Valisure is a company whose mission is to independently investigate the chemical composition of products, bringing transparency to the pharmaceutical industry before products reach consumers. The laboratory at Valisure found that the amount of these chemicals in many sunscreen products are more than 7,000 times the recommended limit for usage.

What is Benzene?

Benzene is an organic chemical compound that is highly flammable and colorless or light yellow. This chemical is widely used in the United States to produce many products, such as plastics, resins, lubricants, furniture wax, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. It is a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. High levels of this toxic chemical compound are found in the air in manufacturing plants, gasoline stations, and hazardous waste sites.

The World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer classify benzene as a Group 1 compound, defining it as carcinogenic to humans. Hundreds of sunscreens manufactured and marketed in the United States are contaminated with benzene at levels that far exceed safety, putting consumers at risk.

 Health Effects of Exposure

The Department of Health and Human Services reported that benzene is a carcinogenic chemical affecting the blood-forming organs of the body. Inhaling, ingesting, or absorbing benzene and associated chemicals through the skin or eye contact causes short and long-term health hazards. It is linked to Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Aplastic Anemia, Multiple Myeloma, Amyloidosis, and Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Some of the immediate signs and symptoms of exposure to benzene are drowsiness, dizziness, heart palpitations, tremors, confusion, vomiting, unconsciousness, and convulsions.

Some brands of Sunscreen containing benzene products are:

  • Neutrogena
  • Coppertone
  • Aveeno
  • Sun Bum
  • CVS Health
  • Fruit of the Earth
  • Raw Elements
  • Good Sense
  • Banana Boat
  • TopCare Everyday
  • EltaMD
  • Equate
  • Max Block
  • Walgreens

Sunscreen Recall

Valisure issued a petition to the Food and Drug Administration on May 24, 2021, asking to recall batches of sunscreen products with high levels of benzene. On July 14, 2021, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries (Neutrogena and Aveeno) announced a recall of five aerosol sunscreen products. However, the same independent study found benzene contamination in at least 78 other sunscreen products left on the market for consumers. Researchers discovered the devastating health effects of benzene decades ago. Yet, the manufacturers knowingly marketed the products without warning consumers about the risks.

A Failure to Disclose and Warn Consumers of Benzene in Sunscreen Products Violates State and Federal Laws

The Michael Brady Lynch Firm holds accountable those manufacturers that market and distribute products that cause severe and potentially fatal health consequences. If you have used sunscreen products and been diagnosed with specific types of cancers, you may be eligible for compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. A nationwide class-action lawsuit has been filed for consumers’ losses with a possible multidistrict litigation lawsuit venue to compensate victims of these products.

The Michael Brady Lynch Firm is passionate about justice for those consumers who have been harmed through negligent or purposeful acts. Our law firm is nationally regarded as a leader for complex litigation. Contact our office at 888-585-5970 for a no-obligation consultation today.


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