Johnson & Johnson has recalled five of its aerosol sunscreens distributed nationwide after discovering benzene, a carcinogen, in some samples designed for consumers sun protection measures. Johnson & Johnson announced consumers should stop using the affected canisters immediately and seek refunds where possible. This is not Johnson & Johnson’s first recall in their supply chain this year, as it also recalled children’s Tylenol products due to potential contamination with mold.
A human carcinogen is a substance that promotes the development of cancer. Some carcinogens are artificial, such as benzene, found in Johnson & Johnson’s specific aerosol sunscreen products.
Benzones are also considered carcinogenic because long-term exposure may lead to leukemia and other cancers like colorectal tumors. Johnson & Johnson’s recalls were prompted by trace amounts of benzene being detected through its quality control process.
No, Johnson & Johnson has a history of recalls. In November 2018, Johnson & Johnson recalled three products:
Benzene is an organic compound with two benzene rings linked at one end (C^), and it is used as a solvent for other substances, including rubber, paint, ink, plastics, and textiles. Scientists discovered it by accident in 1825 when they distilled coal tar.
Benzene is an irritant that can be toxic if inhaled or swallowed because it enters the bloodstream directly from the lungs and intestines. It has been found to cause cancer of the bladder, bone marrow (leukemia), eye sockets, kidneys, liver, and skin in animals and people who regularly work with benzene.
Johnson & Johnson’s sunscreen affected products by the benzene recall are as follows:
Benzene is an organic compound found in the air due to incomplete combustion, such as cigarette smoke. It is also used to make other chemicals, including plastics, glues, or paints.
When benzene enters the body, it harms nearly every organ system – eyes (ocular), sockets, kidneys, liver, and skin- in animals and people who work with benzene regularly.
The effects include blood disorders, leukemia, or cancer of the lymphatic system; high levels may cause bone marrow death leading to aplastic anemia; lung damage from hypersensitivity pneumonitis or chemical pneumonia, where inflammation causes fluid accumulation around the lungs, which restricts breathing.
According to Johnson & Johnson officials, there have been no known cases in which someone has exhibited symptoms from using these recalled aerosol sunscreen product lines.
The company advises consumers who purchased any five impacted items should immediately stop using them and contact their physician if they experience adverse health consequences, such as skin irritation or burns resulting from this recall.
Symptoms may take months or years before they show up after repeated exposures. Continued prolonged exposure can, over time, result in leukemia (cancer). There is no known safe level for benzene.
Contact your local retailer for further instructions on how to return the sunscreen products, where they were purchased, and when. If you suspect you have symptoms from certain aerosol-recalled sunscreen products by Johnson & Johnson, you should see your physician.
According to The Food & Drug Administration:
“adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product may be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.”
It is difficult to say if you are at risk for adverse reactions or quality problems. If your health concerns have increased, please see a physician. The FDA recommends that all consumers stop using certain aerosol sunscreen products and contact Johnson & Johnson with any questions about their use.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated in an email interview:
If someone had used one of the recalled J&J Aveeno or Neutrogena spray-on beach defense aerosol sunscreen products over the past few days then yes, it would be reasonable to consult your healthcare provider.
If you have been injured or sickened due to daily exposure to Johnson & Johnson consumer recalled product, contact Ehline Law as soon as possible for help recovering damages and compensation.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.