Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

Benzene, A Cancer-Causing Chemical, Found In Major Sunscreens

It’s a well-established scientific fact that skin cancer is linked to sun exposure. The purpose of sunscreen products is to block the ultraviolet radiation associated with skin damage and to protect against cancer. But evidence is beginning to emerge that certain brands of sunscreen contain benzene, an industrial chemical that is a known human carcinogen.

These new findings suggest that consumers who use certain brands of sunscreen to protect themselves against getting skin cancer, may actually be increasing their risk of developing other types of cancers. Regular exposure to benzene, even at very low levels, is a major risk factor for blood tissue cancers such as leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma.

On July 14, 2021, Johnson & Johnson announced a recall of several of its aerosol sunscreen products after finding trace amounts of benzene in them.


The recalls currently affect five Johnson and Johnson products, including some Aveeno and Neutrogena products. The sunscreens that have been recalled include:

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

UPDATE! NEW SUNSCREEN RECALL! As of September 30, 2021, Coppertone has also voluntarily recalled specific lots of its aerosol (spray) sunscreen products due to potential contamination with the known carcinogen benzene, per this recall notice published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to Coppertone, five products are being recalled “out of an abundance of caution:”

  • Pure & Simple SPF 50
  • Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50
  • Pure & Simple Kids SPF 50
  • Sport Mineral SPF 50
  • Sport Spray SPF 50, travel-size

However, only 12 specific lots, which were manufactured between January 10 and June 15, are included in the recall. (You can find the impacted products at the FDA’s site.)


The independent lab and online pharmacy Valisure filed a citizen petition with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after it alleged that it found trace amounts of benzene in various sunscreen products, including the Johnson & Johnson products.

Valisure analyzed 294 unique batches from 69 brands and detected benzene in 78 of the tested batches. This discovery raises grave concerns because chemicals in sunscreen are known to be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream – even after only one application. Since children’s skin is more permeable than adults, the threat of absorption of harmful chemicals is even greater for them.


A Sunscreen Class Action Lawsuit in Florida claims that Neutrogena and J&J have violated both federal law and a consumer protection statute given that benzene – a chemical that can be derived from petroleum and is a “well-established cause of cancer in humans” – was not disclosed as an ingredient on the sunscreens’ labels or ingredient lists.

As a result, countless consumers allegedly exposed themselves and their families to the carcinogen, believing the products were “safe and effective”.

Unlike class actions, lawsuits that claim injuries, such as cancer, are being filed as individual lawsuits. Because of the number of people who may file sunscreen cancer lawsuits, this type of case may lead to a class action, toxic tort, or multi-district litigation.

These types of cases are much more complicated than a typical personal injury claim. You will need the assistance of a product lawyer who is experienced in handling these types of complex cases.

“Benzene is associated with certain blood cancers such as leukemia, and recent studies by FDA researchers have shown that significant amounts of sunscreen ingredients absorb through the skin and are found in the blood.”

- Valisure (online pharmacy)


Sunscreen is supposed to prevent skin cancer—not cause it. We have serious questions about what the manufacturers knew, or should have known, about cancer causing ingredients in sunscreen, and how benzene ended up in these products. What is certain, is that a known human carcinogen has no place in any product deemed safe to use, never mind one that is intended to be applied every day to protect us AGAINST cancer.

Taylor Martino Rowan is currently investigating the link between sunscreen and cancer. We are committed to holding sunscreen brands, and the large multinational companies that own them like Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co accountable for putting profit before people. We have a proven track record of fighting for our clients against the powerful, and ensuring they get the compensation they deserve.


Did you use a sunscreen that, unbeknownst to you or your doctor, contains benzene? Have you been diagnosed with cancer? If you believe that you were exposed to benzene through the use of recalled sunscreen products that led to your leukemia diagnosis or additional health issues, please reach out to Taylor Martino Rowan. Our attorneys know that the health of you and your family comes first, and that if you have been harmed, you deserve to get justice in the courtroom with the help of our experienced team of attorneys.

Give us a call today to review your case! Your health – and your potential compensation – cannot wait.

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