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Neutrogena, Aveeno Sunscreen Contaminated with Benzene Class Action

Sunscreens that offer broad-spectrum SPF protection are regulated as over-the-counter drugs, rather than as cosmetics. The complaint for this class action cites five such sunscreens, under the Aveeno and Neutrogena brands, made by Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. (JJCI), which it claims have been found to contain benzene, a human carcinogen that can be absorbed by the skin.

The National Class for this action is all retail consumers in the US, its territories, and the District of Columbia, who bought for personal use any of the products in the list below, during the relevant claim period. A California Class has also been defined, for those in California. The products at issue are the following:

  • Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen

Earlier in 2021, independent online pharmacy Valisure, LLC found concerning levels of benzene in a number of sunscreen products.

Benzene is used in industry as a solvent. The complaint refers to online information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to say that “benzene can damage the immune system and prevent cells from functioning properly. It can cause leukemia and other blood cancers with repeated exposure at high enough levels.”

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says that workers who expect to be exposed to benzene at concentrations of over 0.1 ppm for over ten hours should wear protective equipment. However, the complaint alleges that Valisure found that some JJCI products contain more than twenty times this level of benzene,

Valisure notified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of its findings on March 24, 2021, asking it to take steps on the problem, including requesting a recall of the contaminated products. The complaint alleges that JJCI was aware of the problem on that day but did not warn consumers or take action to recall the products until July 14, 2021.

Why the delay? The complaint points out two important holiday weekends that occurred in the intervening weeks: Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July weekend. These also coincided with the end of the school year, the lifting of many Covid-19 restrictions on activities and travel, and some very hot weather. The complaint alleges the company wanted the sunscreen sales those events and conditions would involve, even “with corresponding increased exposure to the benzene contamination” to the consumers who bought them.

The claims include fraudulent concealment, breaches of warranty, and violations of consumer protection laws, among other things.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Neutrogena, Aveeno Sunscreen Contaminated with Benzene Complaint

July 19, 2021

Sunscreens that offer broad-spectrum SPF protection are regulated as over-the-counter drugs, rather than as cosmetics. The complaint for this class action cites five such sunscreens, under the Aveeno and Neutrogena brands, made by Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. (JJCI), which it claims have been found to contain benzene, a human carcinogen that can be absorbed by the skin.

Neutrogena, Aveeno Sunscreen Contaminated with Benzene Complaint

Case Event History

Neutrogena, Aveeno Sunscreen Contaminated with Benzene Complaint

July 19, 2021

Sunscreens that offer broad-spectrum SPF protection are regulated as over-the-counter drugs, rather than as cosmetics. The complaint for this class action cites five such sunscreens, under the Aveeno and Neutrogena brands, made by Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. (JJCI), which it claims have been found to contain benzene, a human carcinogen that can be absorbed by the skin.

Neutrogena, Aveeno Sunscreen Contaminated with Benzene Complaint
Tags: Contaminated with Harmful Substances, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, Fraudulent Concealment