Following recent findings that certain aerosol sunscreen products may be contaminated with benzene, a known carcinogen, the makers of Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 sunscreen have been hit with a class action lawsuit seeking compensation for consumers who purchased the sunscreen and were subsequently exposed to a potential risk of cancer. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, which you believe to be the result of exposure to benzene in aerosol sunscreen, contact Consumer Safety Watch today. We know how devastating a cancer diagnosis can be, and we can help put you in touch with an attorney who can determine whether you are eligible to file a claim against the sunscreen manufacturer.
In September 2021, several lines of Coppertone aerosol sunscreen spray products were recalled due to concerns about potentially dangerous levels of benzene, an industrial chemical classified as a human carcinogen. The recall was issued after routine testing of sunscreen samples identified potentially harmful levels of benzene in several Coppertone sunscreen sprays intended for use by adults, children, and even babies. The Coppertone recall affects certain lots of the following aerosol sunscreen products:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The major effect of benzene from long-term exposure (a year or more) is on the blood.” The chemical has been linked to several potentially life-threatening types of cancer, particularly cancers of the blood, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Despite the potential link between benzene and cancer, benzene is among the 20 most widely used chemicals in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. It is primarily used as a starting material in producing other chemicals, including pesticides, plastics, rubbers, dyes, lubricants, drugs, and detergents.
Concerns about an increased cancer risk from spray sunscreens first emerged in May 2021, when benzene was discovered in certain Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen product lines. The independent pharmacy Valisure detected benzene in the sunscreen sprays during routine testing, and Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Neutrogena and Aveeno products, issued a voluntary recall two months later, out of what the company called an “abundance of caution.” Johnson & Johnson stated in the recall announcement that benzene is not an ingredient in any of the company’s sunscreen products. However, the carcinogen was found in some samples of the recalled aerosol sunscreen finished products. In addition to Neutrogena and Aveeno, Valisure identified several other sunscreen products that contained benzene, including some at levels that “significantly surpass” the 2 parts per million (ppm) restriction established by the FDA for benzene in drug products, which includes sunscreens. The pharmacy also discovered several after-sun care products that contained benzene, some with benzene contamination above 2 ppm.
Aerosol sunscreen manufacturers now face a growing number of lawsuits filed by consumers who claim that their sunscreen products were defectively designed and were not properly screened for harmful contaminants and toxins. One such lawsuit was filed against the makers of Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 sunscreen in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on November 23. Plaintiff Barbara Truss seeks class action status to pursue damages on behalf of consumers who purchased Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 sunscreen, believing the product was safe for its intended use. According to the class action lawsuit, Coppertone Water Babies sunscreen cans contain octocrylene, a chemical that degrades over time and results in an accumulation of benzophenone, a known mutagen, carcinogen, and endocrine disruptor.
According to Valisure’s Citizen Petition on Benzene in Sunscreen and After-sun Care Products, 27% of the sunscreen products the pharmacy tested were contaminated with benzene, including those containing the active ingredients zinc oxide, avobenzone, octocrylene, octisalate, oxybenzone, homosalate, and octinoxate. If you used an aerosol sunscreen product that has been identified as containing potentially harmful levels of benzene, and you have been diagnosed with leukemia or another type of cancer, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the sunscreen manufacturer. Contact us today to learn about your legal options as the benzene contamination in spray sunscreen narrative unfolds.