Have you or a loved one used a sunscreen product and developed cancer?

You may be eligible to file a claim against the manufacturer and receive economic compensation. Our products liability attorneys are investigating cases where anyone has developed cancer, or leukemia in particular, after using sunscreens that contained benzene. If you or a family member have been diagnosed with leukemia after using any sunscreen product, call our firm to learn about your legal rights as well as what steps can be taken to protect those rights. Montlick Injury Attorneys has recovered billions of dollars for our personal injury clients over the years through the settlement of lawsuits, litigation/lawsuits, mediation, arbitration, and jury verdicts. 

According to an article published on claimsjournal.com, drug researchers have urged U.S. regulators to pull certain sunscreen products from the U.S. market due to benzophenone contamination.

According to the news report, popular sunscreen products made by Coppertone, Neutrogena, and Banana Boat contain benzene, a known carcinogen. The National Cancer Institute says that exposure to benzene can lead to leukemia and other blood disorders. As such, the health scientists urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) to ban the sale of any sunscreen that contains “octocrylene,”a common ingredient in popular suncreen lotions that breaks down over time and produces benzophenone as a byproduct. Benzophenone is a photosensitizing agent that is used in many personal care products such as lip balm and nail polish as well because the compound protects against Ultraviolet light.

According to the Executive Director from Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, Craig Downs, benzophenone interferes with key hormones and reproductive organs. Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, a nonprofit laboratory, studies chemicals and how these chemicals affect human health and the environment. Mr. Downs stated that there are about 2,400 sunscreen products that include octocrylene as an active ingredient, and the octocrylene’s safety is not known at this time. Mr. Downs also affirmed that the FDA is not certain if octocrylene is safe or not.

The World Health Organization (“WHO”) classifies benzophenone as a potential carcinogen. This conclusion was reached through research conducted on animals. The WHO does not collect data linking benzophenone to cancer in humans. However, the WHO does affirm that “benzophenone in sunscreens can interfere with estrogen.” Estrogen performs an essential function in women’s health. When a woman’s estrogen levels are disrupted, this can cause early puberty and alter the functioning of a woman’s reproductive organs.

Concern about octocrylene and other chemicals in sunscreens began in 2019, when the FDA asked sunscreen manufacturers to give the agency safety data concerning octocrylene and other chemical ingredients used in their sunscreen products. Last May, Valisure, an independent pharmaceutical laboratory, reported that its laboratory detected levels of benzene in hundreds of sunscreen products. However, just a few sunscreen products were recalled. Benzene is a known human carcinogen, and it is highly absorbable through human skin, but exposure also can occur by inhalation, which often happens with sunscreen sprays.

The FDA lists benzene as a class one solvent, which means that it recommends against its use in the manufacture of drug substances, excipients (substances added to drugs such as fillers or preservatives), and drug products, because “because of [it’s] unacceptable toxicity” or “deleterious environmental effect.” However, when a class one solvent (such as benzene) is “unavoidable in order to produce a drug product,” it should be limited to concentrations of 2 parts per million (ppm).

However, Valisure has petitioned the FDA to provide greater oversight over the manufacturing of sunscreen, and its list of the 78 sunscreen products included the following popular brands, among others:

  • Aveeno
  • Banana Boat
  • Coppertone
  • EltaMD
  • Goodsense
  • Neutrogena
  • Sun Bum
  • Up & Up

An FDA investigation discovered that the body absorbs enough sunscreen chemical ingredients to support further testing. According to David Andrews, senior scientist for Environmental Working Group, there are no signs that the sunscreen manufacturers have complied and provided their safety data to the FDA, which requested the data nearly two years ago.

Courtney Rhodes, an FDA spokeswoman, said that the FDA takes consumer product safety seriously, and the agency is monitoring sunscreen products closely to ensure that safe sunscreen is readily available to consumers while the agency assesses the contamination issue.

Mr. Downs and Joe DiNardo, a former cosmetics industry toxicologist, teamed up with researchers from Paris-based Sorbonne University. The team tested sixteen popular sunscreen products from the United States and France that also contain octocrylene. Sunscreen products tested included Beiersdorf AG’s Coppertone Water Babies spray, Neutrogena Beach Defense spray, Edgewell Personal Care Co.’s Banana Boat lotion. The sunscreen products tested positive for benzophenone contamination.

The following sunscreen products have already been recalled by Johnson & Johnson:

  • 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

However, it is important to note Valisure’s study detected benzene in batches of 78 different products, so any type of sunscreen should be scrutinized to determine if there is contamination. Scientists are not certain how benzene forms in sunscreen products, but believes the benzene contamination occurs in the manufacturing process.

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will release its study on sunscreens soon. Recently, a presentation was given to the National Academies panel, which linked benzophenones to endometriosis, a painful condition caused by inner uterine tissue that begins to grow outside the uterus.

In any product liability injury case, our attorneys pursue all types of monetary damages that our clients are entitled to recover. Depending on the facts of a case and the applicable law, these may include compensation for:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Punitive or “Penalty” Damages if the defendant manufacturer’s conduct is egregious, such as when a it releases a product that it knows is dangerous (subject to state law)
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional distress

Do not delay in seeking legal assistance, as you have a limited amount of time to pursue a claim. Each state places a limit on the amount of time that can pass between when an injury occurred and how much time a person has to settle a claim or file a lawsuit, if legally necessary. This time limit is codified in a state’s statute of limitations and other important doctrines or laws that may vary depending on the jurisdiction in which your claim exists. Our attorneys can advise you on what deadlines may apply to your case.

We Know What It Takes To Win!®  If you or a loved one developed cancer or leukemia or any type of cancer, and believe it was caused by benzene contamination in sunscreen, contact Montlick Injury Attorneys.