Sunscreen Cancer Lawsuits
Following the discovery of dangerous levels of benzene in Neutrogena, Aveeno, Coppertone and other popular sunscreen, lawsuits are being pursued for consumers diagnosed with cancer that may be caused their sunscreen.
Overview of Sunscreen Recall Lawsuit
In July 2021, Johnson & Johnson issued an Aveeno and Nuetrogene sunscreen recall after confirming that users may be exposed to dangerous levels of benzene. A few months later, a Coppertone sunscreen recall was issued for similar reasons. However, independent testing has confirmed benzene in sunscreen sold by a number of different companies in recent years.
In August 2022, the FDA added warnings about the risks of benzene sunscreen contamination to its summer sun safety guide for consumers.
Product liability lawyers are now reviewing sunscreen cancer lawsuits for individuals diagnosed with several different types of leukemia, lymphoma or other cancer caused by benzene, including:
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (AKL)
- Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL)
- Aplastic Anemia
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
- Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
- Lung Cancer
- Multiple Myeloma
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)
Learn More About
Sunscreen Recall Lawsuits
Leukemia, lymphoma and other cancer may be caused by benzene in Neutrogena, Aveeno, Coppertone and other sunscreens.See if you Qualify for a Settlement
Can sunscreen cause cancer?
While sunscreen is intended to help reduce the risk of skin cancer, a number of popular sunscreen products have been found to contain benzene, which is a known human carcinogen that may cause a number of different types of blood cancers.
Benzene is a colorless or light yellow liquid which is highly flammable and evaporates quickly. It is one of the top 20 chemicals manufactured in the U.S. by volume, and is used to make numerous products. However, side effects of benzene in sunscreen may pose serious health risks, especially among individuals who regularly apply products containing unsafe levels of the chemical directly to their skin or breath benzene released by the sunscreen.
Health experts worldwide have known for years that benzene causes cancer, and the FDA says it should not be used to make drugs or drug products. When the presence of the chemical is unavoidable, federal regulators indicate that levels should not exceed 2 parts per billion (ppb). However, Neutrogena, Aveeno, Coppertone and other recalled sunscreen have been found to contain unsafe levels of benzene. Since it is not found in all products and is not a required ingredient, any sunscreen benzene levels should be considered unreasonably dangerous and unacceptable.
Benzene is a Class I solvent, which is known to interfere with cell function. This often manifests as blood-related cancers and other ailments. These can lead to leukemia, anemia, and can damage the immune system by interfering with the production of red or white blood cells, causing abnormal cells to develop which can increase the risk of cancer, infections, excessive bleeding and immune disorders.
Some animal studies have also suggested it can interfere with reproductive processes in women, causing irregular menstrual periods, decreased ovary size, low birth weight, delayed bone formation and damage to bone marrow.
Which sunscreens have been recalled?
Concerns about the link between sunscreen and benzene emerged in May 2021, when the independent testing pharmacy Valisure issued a warning about benzene in sunscreen sold by several different companies, including Neutrogena, Aveeno, Coppertone, Banana Boat, CVS After-Sun and other sunscreen products.
Valisure filed an FDA citizen’s petition (PDF) calling for the agency to issue sunscreen recalls for all products found to contain any level of benzene, which it found in 78 different sunscreen and after-sun care products, including those sold under the brands:
- Banana Boat
- Raw Elements
- CVS Health
- TopCare Everyday
- Ethical Zinc
- Max Block
- La Roche-Posay
- Up & Up
While the FDA has not yet required widespread sunscreen recalls and not all manufacturers have voluntarily removed suncreen with benzene from the market, the following official recalls were issued after the Valisure petition was filed:
Neutrogena Sunscreen Recall
- Neutrogena Beach Defense® aerosol sunscreen
- Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen
- Neutrogena Invisible Daily™ defense aerosol sunscreen
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer® aerosol sunscreen
Aveeno Sunscreen Recall
- Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen
Coppertone Sunscreen Recall
- Coppertone Pure & Simple SPF 50 (5.0 oz) aerosol sunscreen spray
- Coppertone Pure & Simple Kids SPF 50 (5.0 oz) aerosol sunscreen spray
- Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50 (5.0 oz) aerosol sunscreen spray
- Coppertone Sport Mineral SPF 50 (5.0 oz) aerosol sunscreen spray
- Coppertone Sport Spray SPF 50 (1.6 oz) aerosol sunscreen spray
Status of Sunscreen Class Action Lawsuits
Following the sunscreen recalls issued in 2021, a number of class action lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson (makers of Neutrogena and Aveeno), Coppertone, Banana Boat and other popular brands.
The class action lawsuits pursue compensation for all consumers, who say they paid a premium for the recalled sunscreen products because they were unaware they included benzene and an increased risk of cancer. The suncreen lawsuits indicate the labels contained no indication that benzene was an ingredient, and misled consumers into believing they were safe to use to prevent the risk of cancer from sun exposure, instead of increasing those risks due to the presence of benzene.
On October 8, 2021, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered all Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen recall lawsuits consolidated before one judge for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. As part of the centralized management of those claims, it is expected that the Court will coordinate discovery into common issues that apply to all claims and schedule a series of early test trials.
While the outcome of those trials will not be binding on all plaintiffs who are pursuing a sunscreen lawsuit, they will likely have a substantial impact on any sunscreen cancer settlements the manufacturers reach to avoid the need for each individual case to go before a jury in the future.
On October 28, 2021, parties involved in the litigation announced a tentative settlement which would resolve eight class action Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen recall lawsuits filed in federal courts nationwide. In March 2022, a judge approved a Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen class action settlement which provided full cash refunds for those with recalled aerosol spray products, as well as up to $1.75 million in vouchers for consumers who bought non-aerosol Neutrogena and Aveeno products which were not recalled.
Then, in September 2022, a Coppertone class action lawsuit settlement was reached, which resulted in that manufacturer agreeing to pay $2.3 million into a settlement fund for individuals exposed to benzene from aerosol spray products.
KelleyJanuary 12, 2023 at 8:12 pm
I have used Aveeno, Neutrogena and copper tone sunscreen on myself and both my children. Especially the Aveeno and Neutrogena sunscreen had a “burning sensation” on both my face and my children’s faces when applied. I thought that had something to do with our face being out in the sun and now I’m not so sure we have not been diagnosed with cancer, but now I am concerned.
KatieApril 11, 2022 at 5:38 pm
My son had severe burns all over his face after using the pure and simple coopertone kids 50 spf aresol he wasn’t diagnosed with any cancers thus far but he had chemical burns that I took photos of after using it.
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