Johnson & Johnson Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Benzene-Tainted Neutrogena and Aveeno Sunscreen Products 

Product safety watchdogs seek injunction, demand answers for J&J’s delay in recall 


SAN FRANCISCO – Pharmaceutical product-safety lawyers at the Beasley Allen law firm have filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of consumers who bought recalled benzene-tainted sunscreen products made by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) subsidiaries Neutrogena and Aveeno. 


The lawsuit seeks an injunction and damages on behalf of consumers who purchased a range of Neutrogena and Aveeno sun-care products. An analysis by independent lab Valisure found alarming concentrations of benzene in at least 78 sun-care products made by Neutrogena, CVS Health, Banana Boat and other manufacturers.  


“It should not have taken the publication of a third party’s tests to bring this critically important information to the public, and J&J’s response so far is not enough. We will find out how long J&J knew about these concerns and why it took so long to take action,” said product safety trial lawyer Andy Birchfield of the Beasley Allen law firm. 


More than seven weeks after the lab results were published, Johnson & Johnson announced a recall of five spray products and ordered retailers to stop selling Neutrogena’s sunscreens labeled Beach Defense, Cool Dry Sport, Invisible Daily, Ultra Sheer and Aveeno Protect + Refresh.  


The Food and Drug Administration permits traces of benzene on rare occasions in medical products that are deemed critical, but the chemical is not allowed in sun-care products in any amount. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends protective equipment for those expecting to be exposed to benzene at concentrations above 0.1 parts per million for 10 hours or 1 ppm for 15 minutes. Some Neutrogena products contained benzene amounts of more than 6 ppm, according to Valisure.  


While Valisure found benzene in both aerosol and lotion products, J&J’s voluntary recall is limited to spray products. A full list of the risky sunscreens can be found here.  


“When these kinds of safety failures occur, the American public deserves a swift and transparent accounting of what happened and what is being done to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” said Beasley Allen attorney David Byrne. “J&J’s response falls far short of that.”  


The lawsuit Johanna Dominguez and Sharron Meijer et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 3:21-CV-05419. In addition to Beasley Allen, the legal team includes Walsh Law PLLC and Keller Lenkner LLC.   


Benzene is a common industrial chemical that has long been linked to leukemia, a deadly form of blood cancer. The discovery raises grave concerns because chemicals in sunscreen are known to be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream – even after only one application. Since children’s skin is more permeable than adults, the threat of absorption of harmful chemicals is even greater for them.  


About the Beasley Allen Law Firm   

Headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, Beasley Allen is a national leader in medical product liability litigation, with a staff of experienced attorneys and expert staff committed to ensuring the safety of consumer and medical products. For more information, visit   


Media Contact:  
Robert Tharp  


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