Johnson & Johnson Sunscreen Benzene Lawsuits
Johnson & Johnson is a company that has been under serious legal pressure for some time. From its major liability in the opioid crisis to tens of thousands of lawsuits over asbestos in its talc powder, the company is facing fire on many fronts because it sells dangerous products. Now, the latest legal headache for the company comes from lawsuits filed over its Benzene sunscreen. The product has been recalled because it contains cancer-causing ingredients. Now, the company is being sued in multidistrict litigation in Florida by numerous plaintiffs.
In July 2021, Johnson & Johnson issued a recall of Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen. There were 5 sunscreen products that fell under this recall. These products were found to have contained Benzene, which is a known carcinogen. Benzene is a menacing carcinogen which is known to lead to cancer and leukemia. This is not something that the company wanted to do. Johnson & Johnson often does everything it can to keep products on the market, even those that it knows are dangerous. A benzene sunscreen claim is a lawsuit pursued against Aveeno, Neutrogena, Johnson & Johnson in their role as manufacturer of sunscreens with more than is necessary amounts of benzene. Exposure to excessive amounts of benzene can lead to cancer, and in certain instances, leukemia.
Updates- 2-14-22- “Prestige Consumer Healthcare markets and sells certain Summer’s Eve brand body sprays without disclosing they contain benzene, a known human carcinogen, a new class action lawsuit alleges. Plaintiff Gwen Sullivan claims Prestige misleads consumers by failing to disclose that its Summer’s Eve – Ultra Freshening Spray, 5-in-1 body spray is contaminated with benzene. The benzene contamination came to light following the results of a study released last year by Valisure, an independent analytical pharmacy, which revealed a number of cosmetic, health and spray products contained benzene. Sullivan claims she would not have been willing to purchase the Summer’s Eve body spray had she known it contained benzene, calling it “worthless.” JD Supra
2/9/2022- “A pair of consumers are separately targeting CVS Pharmacy and CVS Health Corporation over health concerns related to products. Plaintiff Stephanie Surratt claims CVS Pharmacy sells a formula called Toddler Beginnings that is intended for children between 9 and 18 months old that is misleadingly similar to infant formula. Surratt claims CVS Pharmacy makes the formula similar-looking to infant formula to give caregivers the “incorrect impression that the Toddler Beginnings is what children should be fed in the ‘next stage’ beyond infancy.”
The following product were recalled:
- Neutrogena Beach Defense
- Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport
- Neutrogena Invisible Daily
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer
- Aveeno Protect + Refresh
Benzene can cause the following types of cancer:
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
- Aplastic anemia
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
Benzene Was Detected in Independent Testing
The product testing was not done by Johnson & Johnson, nor did the company warn the public of any dangers associated with its products. Instead, the testing was performed by a company called Valisure. This is an online pharmacy that is committed to product safety. Valisure has ordered numerous products and tested them for safety, including Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder. Valisure has performed an important role in keeping the public safe that companies themselves will not do.
Surely, one would expect that Johnson & Johnson would have tested its own product and known that it contained a known carcinogen. However, the company has a track record of knowing about its own products’ dangers and either concealing them or failing to alert the public of dangers.
Johnson & Johnson Will Not Admit the Danger of its Products
Even still, the company denies any knowledge that its sunscreens contained benzene. After Valisure released the results of the tests, the company claimed that it was beginning an internal investigation to learn how Benzene became a part of its products because it said that Benzene was not an ingredient in any of its sunscreens. The company claimed that it was recalling its sunscreens “out of an abundance of caution,” even though it denied that they were tainted with benzene.
Benzene Can Be a Very Dangerous Substance
Benzene is a highly-toxic substance that has been associated with cancers of the blood and the immune system. It is a colorless and highly flammable liquid. It is usually formed through natural processes, such as volcano eruptions and forest fires. Benzene is a widely-used chemical that can be found in:
It is also naturally found in crude oil and petroleum. One can imagine that this would hardly be a safe substance for humans to be exposed to as part of a household product that they breathe in when sprayed.
The following agencies have determined that Benzene is a human carcinogen:
- International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a segment of World Health Organization (WHO);
- National Toxicology Program (NTP); and
- U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
The Cancer Risk that Comes from Benzene Exposure
The main risk is that someone exposed to benzene can develop leukemia. The substance has been shown to cause chromosome changes in bone marrow of lab mice. Research has also shown that people who have been around benzene at work have a higher rate of developing leukemia.
Unlike other substances, the international health agencies do not even hedge about the danger of benzene. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified benzene as a known carcinogen. There is a little doubt about the dangers of benzene.
Even if Benzene was not an active ingredient in the sunscreens, there is always the possibility that there was a defect in the manufacturing process that would have caused it to form in the sunscreen. This is how toxic substances often end up as ingredients of popular products. For example, the heartburn drug Zantac was tainted with NDMA because the instability of its active ingredient caused it to form the carcinogen over time, especially when the product was exposed to heat.
Johnson & Johnson Is Facing Many Lawsuits
There have been several class action lawsuits that have been filed against Johnson & Johnson. Consumers want their money back because they have purchased a recalled product that they cannot use. Beyond that, there have been lawsuits filed by consumers who claimed that they were injured after they used these sunscreens. Right now, the personal injury lawsuits are separate from the class action cases.
Most of the Johnson & Johnson sunscreen benzene lawsuits stem from use of aerosol sunscreen products. However, there are a number of plaintiffs who claim that they were injured from using Johnson & Johnson sunscreen lotions.
There Is Multidistrict Litigation in the Johnson & Johnson Benzene Litigation
Right now, the Johnson & Johnson sunscreen lawsuits have been granted multidistrict lawsuit status. This means that the cases will proceed together as one right up until the time that the cases go before a jury. Then, each one of the cases is heard by a separate jury. Therefore, it is possible for some plaintiffs to win their cases, while others may lose.
As of now, the cases that have been consolidated are the consumer class action lawsuits. However, there have been some personal injury cases that have also been filed. If you or a loved one have been injured by any of these products, you have legal rights.
Benzene in paint leads to jury verdict in 2016 in Pennsylvania
“A Pennsylvania state court jury has awarded $824,000 in damages to a man who developed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) after working for years with printing solvent made with benzene sold by U.S. Steel. The verdict was handed down in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas February 24, following trial of a case brought by Louis DeSorbo, who alleged there was a connection between his leukemia diagnosis and benzene. DeSorbo claimed that the manufacturer knew the risks of benzene exposure from the printing solvent, but continued to add the chemical to its products for years. DeSorbo used the benzene-containing solvent as a vocational high school student, and then in the workforce from 1972 to 1975. However, as early as at least 1967 U.S. Steel had known that benzene was a possible carcinogen, when it removed the substance from printing solvents sold in Illinois at the request of the state.” About lawsuits
Dallas Texas 8.2 million verdict-Benzene in Paint
“Dallas, TX, October 20, 2015 – A jury has awarded $8.2 million to a 60-year-old Texas man battling MDS/AML, a form of leukemia caused by his exposure to benzene contained in paint and thinners manufactured by E.I. Du Pont De Nemours. Virgil Hood handled DuPont’s toxic products on the job daily in Colorado between 1973 and 1996, when he worked as a painter for Timpte Trailers, a company that builds semi-trailers, and Continental Airlines.” National trial lawyers
Sunscreen Products that Could Potentially Contain Benzene
While the litigation thus far has focused on Johnson & Johnson, there are other sunscreen makers that may have sold products that contain benzene. These makers could include:
- Sun Bum
- CVS Health;
- Fruit of the Earth
- Raw Elements
- Banana Boat
Not only is the maker of the product potentially liable, but the retailer that sold a product that sickened you could also be made to pay. This includes stores like:
The recall news just came out several months ago, and lawyers are still investigating potential cases against the product makers. Sunscreen cancer lawsuits are still in their early phases. If you or a loved one have been injured, we would like to talk to you about your case. We can help you file a lawsuit against the company that was responsible for your injuries. However, you have a limited amount of time to bring a court case for your injuries. Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation.