Sunscreen Recall Lawsuits

Our lawyers are reviewing sunscreen recall lawsuits for victims who may have cancer from defective sunscreen. This page provides information for potential victims about these nascent sunscreen cancer lawsuits and what you can do to bring a claim for a settlement compensation payout for the harm that has been done.

On October 8, 2021, the MDL Panel created a sunscreen recall class action lawsuit.  This means all federal benzene cancer lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson sunscreen products filed in federal court will be assigned to U.S. District Judge Anuraag Singhal in Fort Lauderdale.

This page was updated on October 13, 2021. Our lawyers will continue to keep consumers advised of the progress in this litigation.

Sunscreen Cancer Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson recently recalled a number of its leading spray-on sunscreen products (including the popular Neutrogena & Aveeno brands) after independent lab testing found that these products contained benzene. Benzene is a well known carcinogen that can cause leukemia and other types of cancer.

Individuals who used the recalled sunscreen products on a regular basis for a prolonged time period and were subsequently diagnosed with leukemia or certain other types of cancer may be able to file a lawsuit against J&J and receive financial compensation. Our law firm is currently seeking new sunscreen cancer lawsuits from individuals who meet these criteria.

Sunscreen Benzene Recall

In May 2021, the independent pharmaceutical and product testing company Valisure issued a public announcement stating that lab tests found benzene in a number of popular sunscreen and sun care products. According to Valisure’s report, some of the sunscreen products contained relatively small amounts of benzene but others contained “significant” and potentially harmful levels of the chemical.

The discovery of benzene in sunscreen was cause for serious concern because benzene is a notorious and well-known human carcinogen that has been proved to be very harmful to humans. Benzene is an industrial chemical that is found in crude oil and is used as a chemical solvent and in the manufacture of plastics.

Prolonged and regular exposure to benzene has been shown to cause cancer (specifically leukemia). According to the CDC, just 1-year of regular exposure to benzene is enough to cause leukemia. Benzene exposure has also been scientifically linked to other health conditions including anemia (low red blood cells) and decreased ovary size in women.

In July 2021, two months after the Valisure report was released, Johnson & Johnson announced a voluntary recall of several popular sunscreen brands. The sun care products recalled by J&J include Aveeno and Neutrogena brand aerosol spray-on sunscreens. These were some of the most widely used sun protection products on the market. The recalled J&J products include:

  • NEUTROGENA® Beach Defense® aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Invisible Daily™ defense aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Ultra Sheer® aerosol sunscreen, and
  • AVEENO® Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen.

J&J’s recall came after they performed their own testing and apparently confirmed that high levels of benzene were present.

Sunscreen Recall Lawsuits

The sunscreen recall was followed by a wave of new product liability and consumer fraud lawsuits against J&J. So far most of the Aveeno and Neutrogena sunscreen lawsuits assert consumer fraud claims based on allegations that J&J failed to warn about benzene in the recalled sunscreen products. These “consumer” lawsuits do not allege any specific personal injuries such as cancer.

Other sunscreen lawsuits are being filed in which the plaintiffs are alleging that their regular and prolonged use of J&J’s recalled sunscreen products caused them to develop leukemia or suffer other adverse health consequences. These traditional product liability lawsuits assert tort claims against J&J for Neutrogena and Aveeno based on negligence and strict liability.

Sunscreen recall lawsuits Who Qualifies for a Sunscreen Lawsuit?

Any individual who used one of the recalled sunscreen products on a regular basis for an extended period of time and was subsequently diagnosed with leukemia (or another type of cancer or medical condition linked to benzene) may qualify for a sunscreen lawsuit. Regular and prolonged use of a recalled sunscreen product means that you used the sunscreen 3-5 times per week for a period of 1 year or longer.

Benzene exposure is linked to leukemia. No one debates this in 2021. Long-term benzene exposure has also been linked to other types of cancer and other health conditions including:

Benzene has also been shown to cause harm to the ovaries in females, leading to decrease ovary size and function.

An example of an “ideal” sunscreen lawsuit plaintiff would be someone who was a lifeguard in Florida (or worked in the sun all day) and primarily used Neutrogena spray-on sunscreen 5 days a week for 36 months.

Sunscreen lawsuit Timeline FAQs: Sunscreen Lawsuits

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the sunscreen recall and sunscreen lawsuits.

What sunscreen products were recalled?

In July 2021, Johnson & Johnson recalled a total of 5 sunscreen products, all of which were “spray-on” aerosol sunscreens:

  • NEUTROGENA® Beach Defense® aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Invisible Daily™ defense aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Ultra Sheer® aerosol sunscreen, and
  • AVEENO® Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen.

Aside from these products, other sunscreen sprays were identified in the Valisure report, including Banana Boat sunscreen. Valisure also recommends a recall for these products:

  • Sun Bum
  • Raw Elements
  • SunBurnt
  • Goodsense
  • Fruit of the Earth
  • CVS Health
  • TopCare Everyday
  • EltaMD.
Why were sunscreen sprays recalled?

J&J recalled 5 popular spray sunscreens in July 2021 after testing revealed that these products contained a toxic chemical called benzene that is know to cause leukemia and other types of cancer.

Does benzene cause cancer?

Yes. There is very strong and well-established scientific evidence that prolonged exposure to benzene (1 year or more) can cause leukemia and a host of other medical problems including other types of cancer.

It is not just sunscreen that is putting consumers at risk. For example, the FDA warned in October 2021 that Artnaturals scent free hand sanitizer contains unacceptable levels of benzene.

What is the status of the J&J sunscreen lawsuits?

Our sunscreen lawyers acknowledge we are in the early stages of a potential Neutrogena sunscreen class action lawsuit. There is a lot our attorneys need to learn about the nuances of this recall.

But a large number of sunscreen lawsuits have already been filed. Most of these early lawsuits involve claims of consumer fraud but some involve traditional tort claims and allegations of cancer or other serious injuries. The Neutrogena sunscreen lawsuits will likely be consolidated into a “class action” MDL.

Johnson & Johnson is being especially targeted for sunscreen lawsuits because they had strong market share in these products. Banana Boat's manufacturer Sun Pharma is also likely to draw attention in a potential sunscreen class action lawsuits. It will be important to know what J&J and Sun Pharma knew of the benzene risk and when they knew it.

Our Lawyers Were Initially Skeptical About Sunscreen Recall Lawsuits

Our sunscreen lawyers were initially skeptical about this litigation, even after the recall in July 2021. We even wrote a blog post explaining why we did not believed a cancer sunscreen class action would be successful. But evidence has continued to pour in and our lawyers have changed our opinion. It is still early but we believe the evidence may be there to link leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma to the benzene in these sunscreens in a successful lawsuit.

Contact Miller & Zois About Filing a Sunscreen Cancer Lawsuit

The product liability lawyers at Miller & Zois handle defective product claims across the country. We are currently accepting new sunscreen cancer cases from anyone who meets the criteria discussed above.

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