Coppertone Water Babies Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Sunscreen Benzene Contamination

The recalled sunscreen sprays are believed to contain a chemical which degrades into a form of benzene contamination over time.

Following the recent discovery that certain aerosol sunscreen is contaminated with benzene, a class action lawsuit has been filed against Bayer Healthcare, seeking reimbursement for consumers who paid a premium price for Coppertone Water Babies (SPF 50), which may have exposed users to a risk of cancer.

A massive Coppertone sunscreen recall was announced on September 30, after routine sample testing confirmed the presence of potentially unsafe levels of benzene, which is a known human carcinogen that has been linked to several forms of leukemia, lymphoma and other cancers.

In a complaint (PDF) was filed 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 for herself and other similarly situated consumers who purchased Coppertone Water Babies, believing it was safe for its intended use and free from defects. However, the lawsuit indicates that the aerosol sunscreen cans were designed with octocrylene, which is a chemical ingredient known to degrade over time, resulting in the accumulation of benzophenone, which is a mutagen, carcinogen, and endocrine disruptor.

Despite the knowledge of octocrylene benzene risks, the Coppertone Water Babies class action indicates that Bayer designed the aerosol sunscreen with 9% octocrylene, leaving consumers at risk of a “wide range of toxicities, including genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, and endocrine disruption,” according to the complaint.

The lawsuit further states the manufacturer failed to properly screen its final products for harmful toxins and contaminants.

Sunscreen Benzene Contamination Problems

Benzene is an industrial chemical that has been associated with the development of several fatal forms of cancer, leukemia and other conditions, such as AML, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), Hairy Cell Leukemia (HCL), Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma, Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDL), Myelofibrosis and Myeloid Metaplasia, Aplastic Anemia and Thrombocytopenic Purpura.

Long-term side effects of benzene exposure have been proven to cause anemia, which is a condition that develops when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Essentially, the chemical causes bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells, which can damage an individual’s immune system. Federal regulators have determined long-term exposure to benzene can significantly impact blood cells, to the extent it causes cancer such as leukemia, a cancer of the blood-forming organs.

The lawsuit joins a growing number of sunscreen cancer lawsuits filed over the last several months following a report issued by the independent testing pharmacy Valisure, which uncovered that various aerosol sunscreen products on the market in the U.S. contain high levels of benzene, including Coppertone, Neutrogena, Aveeno and other widely used brands.

Johnson & Johnson issued a Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen spray recall in July 2021, after it also confirmed that benzene was present in it’s products, and the company faced a number of similar class action complaints, each raising allegations that Johnson & Johnson endangered consumers’ health by not warning them of the presence of benzene in brands of Neutrogena and Aveeno spray sunscreen, which could increase their risk of cancer.

In late October, Johnson & Johnson and Costco announced they had reached a settlement agreement to resolve the cases. However, the details of the sunscreen settlement agreement have not yet been revealed and the deal has not been finalized.

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