Sunscreen Lawsuits

Nature of Action

This consumer class action arises out of the Defendant’s failure to disclose in its marketing that its sunscreen products Neutrogena and Aveeno contain the highly carcinogenic chemical benzene.

Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen by the United States Department of Health and Health Services. The World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have concluded that benzene is a Group 1 compound and is carcinogenic to humans.

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) regulates sunscreens to ensure they meet safety and effectiveness standards. It requires sunscreen manufacturers to subject their products to certain testing before they are made available to any consumer. It also maintains a list of components that qualify as acceptable active ingredients for products labeled as sunscreen. Benzene is not one of them.

Exposure to benzene can cause leukemia and other blood and bone marrow disorders (including anemia), and a weakened immune system. In addition, benzene has been linked to multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The lawsuit seeks –

  1. injunctive and equitable relief against Defendants on behalf on the entire class. to prevent the continued deceptive marketing and selling of Products that may be adulterated with benzene
  2. a full refund of the purchase price of the Products to any class members.

Status of Lawsuits

A Class Action was filed against the Defendants on July 14th 2021.

Class Members:

The Class is open to all consumers who purchased any Neutrogena or Aveeno sunscreen lotion or spray product in the United States for personal use or consumption.

Excluded from the Class are:

  1. Individuals who allege personal bodily injury resulting from the use of Neutrogena or Aveeno sunscreen products.
  2. JJCI, any parent companies, subsidiaries, and/or affiliates, officers, directors, legal representatives, employees, co-conspirators and all governmental entities.
  3. Any judge, justice or judicial officer presiding over this matter.


Defendants in this Class Action include –

  • Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (“JJCI”)
  • Neutrogena Corporation


On May 25th 2021, Valisure, an independent pharmaceutical testing laboratory, filed a citizen petition with the FDA to recall all batches of sunscreen products in which benzene was detected, including all batches of Neutrogena products containing the carcinogen.

Despite Valisure’s extensive reporting on the presence of benzene in its products, JJCI waited nearly two month to recall any of the Products or warn members of the public of the risks to their health or safety.

When JJCI finally did announce the presence of benzene in the Products in July, it also revealed that not only had Neutrogena products been adulterated and mislabeled, but that benzene was also present in at least the Aveeno brand Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen product line. JJCI recalled these products in both the U.S. and Canadian market.

The only sunscreen products impacted are aerosol products, specifically:

  • 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.

JJCI markets its Neutrogena products as being “#1 Dermatologist Recommended” and its Aveeno products as being “Dermatologist recommended for over 65 years.” These representations remain unchanged even in the wake of the product recalls. Nowhere does JJCI explain if or how dermatologists recommend the Products with knowledge that they contain benzene.