This week, Johnson & Johnson issued a voluntary recall for five of its sunscreen sprays after the company identified that they contained trace amounts of benzene. Benzene is a highly flammable chemical. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) determined that exposure to benzene can cause cancer in humans, which makes it a carcinogen. Although Johnson & Johnson claims there is not enough benzene in the recalled sunscreens to cause “adverse health consequences”, the company said it decided to issue the voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution and advised consumers to stop using the products immediately and to discard of them appropriately.
Johnson & Johnson identified benzene in five different sunscreen sprays, which are:
Per Johnson & Johnson’s statement on the product recall, benzene can be absorbed, to varying degrees, by inhalation through the skin as well as orally. Though the company says that based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) exposure modeling framework that daily exposure to the amount of benzene in the aerosol sunscreen products should not cause serious health hazards for consumers, the chemical is extremely dangerous.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), exposure to benzene can cause both short-term and long-term health effects. Short-term effects from benzene tend to affect the nervous system, whereas long-term effects generally cause harm to a person’s bone marrow. The short-term effects of benzene exposure include:
Long-term exposure to benzene can cause anemia (a low red blood cell count), a low white blood cell count (which lowers the body’s ability to fight off infections) and a low blood platelet count. A low platelet count can cause excessive bleeding and bruising in patients. In very severe cases, long-term exposure to benzene can even cause leukemia. If you are showing any signs of symptoms of possible benzene exposure from using Johnson & Johnson’s recalled sunscreen products, contact a doctor right away.
Consumers who have questions about the recalled Johnson & Johnson aerosol sunscreen product or who would like to request a refund should call the company’s customer care center at 1-800-458-1673. If you became ill from using Johnson & Johnson’s benzene-contaminated sunscreens, you may be able to file a products liability lawsuit. If you would like to learn more about filing a claim, someone at our firm can help. Contact a representative online now.
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