Jill Kolodner | November 9, 2022 | Product Liability
There is never a bad time to discuss sunscreen and your need to wear it. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), more cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year than any other type of cancer.
The SCF notes that regular use of sunscreen can reduce the risk of suffering from squamous cell carcinoma by nearly 40 percent while reducing the risk of melanoma by nearly 50 percent.
Not all sunscreens are created equally, though, and some may do more harm than good. This is the situation in which manufacturer Johnson & Johnson finds itself. The company recently issued a recall for several of its sunscreen products due to the presence of the chemical benzene.
Benzene is a known carcinogen, so individuals who use these products may have an increased risk of developing certain other cancers.
Recall Issued for Certain Johnson & Johnson Sunscreens
On July 14, 2021, Johnson & Johnson put out a voluntary recall of several of its aerosol sunscreen products from stores due to the presence of benzene.
The affected sunscreen products include:
- Aveeno® Protect & Refresh sunscreen
- Neutrogena® Ultra Sheer® sunscreen
- Neutrogena® Invisible Daily™ defense sunscreen
- Neutrogena® Cool Dry Sport sunscreen
- Neutrogena® Beach Defense® sunscreen
All of the affected sunscreen products are aerosol, or spray, products. No sunscreen lotions are impacted by the recall.
A voluntary recall is one that is initiated by a company when it is informed that its products may be dangerous. The company is not forced to recall its affected products but instead chooses to do so.
Benzene and Johnson & Johnson Sunscreen Products
In the press release accompanying its voluntary recall announcement, Johnson & Johnson stated that benzene is not an ingredient it uses in any of its sunscreen products. Johnson & Johnson went further to state it is not aware of how benzene came to be found in samples of the products subject to the recall.
Benzene can be found in a variety of consumer products, including glues, certain cleaning products, and exhaust from cars and trucks. However, one of the greatest sources of benzene exposure, according to the National Cancer Institute, is secondhand smoke.
The longer one is exposed to benzene, and the greater the concentration of benzene one is exposed to, the greater that person’s risk of developing cancer. Leukemia and other blood-related conditions are most commonly associated with benzene exposure.
Johnson & Johnson’s statement claimed that it was recalling the affected products out of an abundance of caution and that the amount of benzene detected in the impacted products would not have been sufficient to cause health complications.
Although the recall was announced over a year ago, it is not known whether anyone has died or developed cancer after using one of the identified sunscreen products.
What You Should Do If You Purchased Any Recalled Sunscreen Product
If you remember purchasing either Neutrogena or Aveeno aerosol sunscreen products around July 2021, check to see if the product you purchased is one of the products listed in the recall. If so, you should not use the product but instead discard it. You can contact Johnson & Johnson to request a refund.
If you have questions or concerns about your health from using these aerosol sunscreen products, you should visit your doctor and share your concerns with them. Let your doctor know you are concerned about complications from benzene exposure and identify the product you were using.
Your doctor can help you monitor your symptoms and take action in the event that cancer is suspected.
If you were injured by one of these products, reach out to a product liability lawyer to see if you have a valid claim for damages.