Benzene

Benzene is a carcinogen that is found in sunscreen products. Exposure to this toxic chemical may increase the risk for different types of skin cancers.

Benzene, a volatile organic compound that’s naturally present in crude oil,  is commonly used to make gasoline, plastics, rubber, dyes, pesticides, and more. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that benzene is a dangerous carcinogen, yet it’s still legal in the U.S. despite their efforts. The chemical is also surprisingly hard to avoid, as trace amounts can be found in pollutants like car exhaust and cigarette smoke. 

While workers who directly handle benzene may suffer an increased risk of developing blood cancers, they aren’t the only at-risk group. A recent scientific study has exposed that many sunscreen brands contain elevated levels of Benzene, which is especially problematic considering the product is marketed as a cancer-deterrent. When companies use hazardous ingredients in the products that are supposed to help keep us safe, it becomes more and more challenging to know what is exactly safe for us to use. 

If you or a loved one have been exposed to benzene through the use of sunscreen, we urge you to contact our office today to speak with an attorney. 

Do Sunscreen Products Contain Benzene?

While many ingredients in your sunscreen can prove to have benefits against the sun, there are some companies who have opted to include ingredients, such as Benzene, that may cause serious and even life-threatening side effects. Benzene, as described by the CDC, is a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. The chemical is also known to have a sweet odor and is highly flammable. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), there is strong evidence that links leukemia and other blood cancers to Benzene exposure, but it is important to note that certain cancers are less common. 

What Are the Side Effects of Benzene?

Victims who are exposed to Benzene can suffer from a multitude of harmful side effects. According to the ACS, victims may suffer either long or short-term side effects, ranging from daily headaches or dizziness to increased heart rates or being diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Short term side effects after exposure to Benzene include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness

Some research has found a potential link between Benzene and various types of cancer, including:

  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

Aside from cancer, long-term exposure to Benzene can also lead to damage to the bone marrow. This can potentially lead to more significant side effects, such as anemia, low white blood cell count, and low blood platelet count, all of which can lower the body's ability to fight infections and could even be life-threatening. Studies have also shown evidence that long-term exposure to Benzene may harm reproductive organs. However, it is unknown if exposure affects the fetus in pregnant women or fertility.

What Brands Contain Benzene?

In July 2021, the company Johnson & Johnson had come under fire for issuing a sunscreen recall due to Benzene contamination in their products. Valisure, an online lab, conducted an investigation into these claims and found that over 70 aerosol sunscreen products contained the harmful ingredient Benzene. For your convenience, we've listed some of the current brands considered to have sunscreens that contain Benzene below.

  • Aveeno
  • Babyganics
  • Banana Boat
  • CVS Health
  • EltaMD
  • Equate
  • Ethical Zinc
  • Fruit of the Earth
  • LaRoche-Posay
  • Live Better by CVS Health
  • Max Block
  • Neutrogena
  • Raw Elements
  • Sun Bum
  • TopCare Everyday

For a full list of all the brands and products that were flagged, click here.

Who Is at Risk?

As mentioned previously, 1 in every 10 Americans uses sunscreen every day. Those who are considered "at-risk" are those individuals who have been exposed to benzene through the daily use of sunscreen. Dr. Christopher Bunick, an associate professor of dermatology at Yale University, claims that "there is not a safe level of benzene that can exist in sunscreen products." Meaning if you or someone you know has been exposed or has used a product containing any benzene level, you may become victim to any one of its harmful side effects. 

If you believe you have used a sunscreen that contains benzene or have any questions about your symptoms, we highly recommend you seek advice from a medical professional, then contact our attorney's office.

Contact a Morgan & Morgan Attorney

When buying sunscreen for you and your loved ones, you should never have to wonder if you’ll be putting yourselves at risk. If you believe you or a loved one have been exposed to benzene through the use of sunscreen and have developed a life-threatening illness such as leukemia, or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, you may be entitled to legal compensation.  

At Morgan & Morgan, our tort attorneys will fight tirelessly to ensure those corporations are held responsible. To learn more about if you are eligible for a lawsuit, contact our attorney's office today.