Old Spice Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Presence of Cancer-Causing Benzene

The FDA indicates there is no need for the Class I solvent and known carcinogen to have a presence in deodorant sprays

Following a report which found Old Spice antiperspirants and deodorants contain high levels of benzene, a class action lawsuit against Procter & Gamble alleges the manufacturer knew or should have known about the problems, and failed to properly screen its products for the cancer causing chemical.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Otto Delcid in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York on November 15, seeking class action status to pursue damages for himself and others who purchased the popular deodorant sprays which are now known to contain the cancer-causing chemical benzene.

The lawsuit joins a growing number of Old Spice benzene lawsuits filed since the prominent testing pharmacy Valisure released a report indicating that it found high levels of benzene in numerous brands and batches of body spray and deodorant spray products, including Old Spice, Secret, Suave, Tag and others. Valisure filed a citizen’s petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, calling for a deodorant recall of the affected products.

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.

The deodorant lawsuits follow the identification of benzene in many sunscreen spray products earlier this year, which led to a number of consumers filing sunscreen cancer lawsuits and class action claims against Johnson & Johnson, as well as other manufacturers.

Delcid’s complaint indicates he began purchasing Old Spice Pure Sport from a Rite Aid in Manhattan, New York, and believed the antiperspirants and deodorants to be safe and free from defects based on the representations made on the product labeling. However, the lawsuit states that if he had known about the Old Spice cancer risks posed by the presence of benzene, he would have chosen any one of a variety of alternative products.

The FDA categorizes benzene as a Class I Solvent, which should not be used in the making of drug products because of its toxicity. However, if a product must contain benzene, it should be limited to 2 parts per million (ppm).

Despite the limitation threshold set forth by regulatory officials, Valisure’s findings released this month indicate many deodorants and body sprays test multiple times over the limit. Of the 108 unique batches from 30 different brands, 49 of the lots across 11 brand names detected the presence of cancer-causing chemicals in deodorants. Some lots of Proctor & Gamble’s Secret Powder Fresh contained benzene levels exceeding 16 parts per million (ppm).

Sunscreen Benzene Concerns

Following similar findings by Valisure of benzene in aerosol sunscreen spray products earlier this year, a number of popular products have been recalled, including Neutrogena, Aveeno, Coppertone and other widely used brands.

Johnson & Johnson issued the Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen spray recall in July 2021, after confirming the known human carcinogens was present in it’s products, and at least eight class action complaints have been filed against the company, each raising similar 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.

Late last month, 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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