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Check Your Sunscreens! More Recalls Due to Benzene

For the second time in less than three months, aerosol sunscreens are being pulled from shelves due to the detection of benzene, a dangerous human carcinogen.

On September 30, Coppertone announced a recall of five of its products because of the presence of benzene in multiple lots of sunscreen. According to the American Cancer Society, based on evidence from studies in both people and lab animals, benzene has been linked with causing cancer, most often leukemia and other cancers of blood cells. 

Sunscreen display in a retail store including brands for kids and babies

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcement states that “daily exposure to benzene at the levels detected in these affected Coppertone aerosol sunscreen spray products would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences based on generally accepted exposure modeling by numerous regulatory agencies.” However, the company is recalling certain lots of specific aerosol sunscreen spray products out of an abundance of caution.

The affected Coppertone products were all manufactured between January 10 and June 15 and sold across the country. They include specific lots of five Coppertone aerosol sunscreen spray products: Coppertone’s Pure & Simple SPF 50 Spray, Pure & Simple Kids SPF 50 Spray, Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50 Spray, Sport Mineral SPF 50 Spray and travel-size Coppertone Sport Spray SPF 50. 

What To Do If You Used a Recalled Coppertone Sunscreen?

Consumers should stop using the recalled sunscreens and dispose of them immediately. For more information about the recall, you can call (888) 921-1537 or go online and request a refund for a recalled product.

While Coppertone has gone on record, stressing the levels of benzene detected should cause no adverse reaction to consumers, there are symptoms a person can look for if they are concerned they have been exposed to a dangerous amount of benzene. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), signs a person is suffering from a high level of benzene include drowsiness, dizziness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, headaches, tremors, confusion, unconsciousness and in severe cases, death. Contact your physician or healthcare provider if you believe you are experiencing any medical problem caused by benzene exposure. 

Coppertone Is Not Alone in the Sunscreen Recall

Issues with benzene in sunscreens were first revealed by Valisure LLC, an independent lab and online pharmacy also known for its testing that led to recalls of the heartburn drug Zantac. Valisure had tested and analyzed almost 300 batches of sunscreen and after-care products from 69 companies and found 78 products contained benzene. 

In May, Valisure petitioned the FDA to start recalling certain sunscreens. 

Two months later, on July 14, Johnson & Johnson announced it had determined benzene was in several of its sunscreen products and was moving forward on its voluntary recall. It included five different sunscreens sold under the brand names Neutrogena and Aveeno. 

Sunscreen Recall Legal Options

Johnson & Johnson’s summer sunscreen recall set off a firestorm among consumers. The Johnson & Johnson recall has seen lawsuits filed by many affected sunscreen purchasers. As of  September 29, with at least 16 cases filed, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation considered a consolidation of the Johnson & Johnson suits. Johnson & Johnson supported the proposal to consolidate. 

After considering the argument of counsel, the MDL panel determined that the centralization of the legal actions in the Southern District of Florida will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation. The MDL panel also ordered that, because this litigation involves both aerosol and lotion sunscreens, the litigation caption is hereby changed to “IN RE: Johnson & Johnson Sunscreen Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation.”

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or suffered another illness and feel it was caused by one of the sunscreens that either Coppertone or Johnson & Johnson has recalled, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney to consider possible legal options.

Here is a list of both Johnson & Johnson and Coppertone aerosol products recalled in 2021:

  • Neutrogena Beach Defense
  • Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport
  • Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer
  • Aveeno Protect + Refresh
  • CoppertonePure & Simple SPF 50
  • Coppertone Pure & Simple Kids SPF 50
  • Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50
  • Coppertone Sport Mineral SPF 50
  • Coppertone, Travel-size Sport Spray SPF 50