Benzene is a known carcinogen that is colorless, flammable and sweet-smelling. It is both man-made during the production of synthetic fibers, medications and more, and also is natural occurring during wildfires, volcanic eruptions and is in crude oil.
Benzene is known to cause cells to work incorrectly, such as damaging the immune system by changing levels of antibodies in the blood. Long-term benzene exposure has been linked to leukemia and conditions such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and chronic myelogenous leukemia.
In early 2021, Valisure -- an independent pharmacy and research testing laboratory -- tested 294 unique batches of sunscreen and after-sun products from 69 different companies and found that 27 percent of the samples contained benzene. Benzene is not a normal ingredient in sunscreens, so these batches are contaminated, but it is not known how.
Several studies have shown that other chemicals in sunscreen can enter the bloodstream once they’re applied to the skin. It is currently unknown how long benzene may have been contaminating sunscreens, and unknown if it has affected brands or batches other than those tested.
Valisure has requested that anyone concerned about benzene contamination in their sunscreen to send their product in for testing and proper disposal.
There are currently no recalls for the products and brands that contained with benzene, but Valisure is requesting the FDA recall the products, including the few products whose benzene levels fell within the FDA’s allowable concentration limit of 2 parts per million.
Valisure also found benzene in 16 percent of the hand sanitizer products they tested in March 2021. At the time, their CEO state that “it is unfortunately apparent that benzene contamination is a broad and very concerning issue in the American consumer supply chain.”
If you have had long-term exposure, meaning a year or longer, to benzene and have been diagnosed with leukemia or other cancers, you may benefit from speaking with an attorney. Dangerous drug lawsuit attorneys can answer your questions and help you file a lawsuit.