Walsh Law and Keller Lenkner LLC today filed a class action against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. (J&J) on behalf of purchasers of certain Aveeno and Neutrogena sunscreens that have dangerous and unacceptable levels of the known cancer-causing chemical, benzene.

Benzene, which is often found in crude oil and identified by the smell associated with gasoline, is classified as a human carcinogen by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and a Group 1 compound (i.e. “carcinogenic to humans”) by the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The plaintiffs’ complaint alleges that J&J failed to include labeling that the sunscreens may contain benzene as an active or inactive ingredient, rendering the products adulterated, misbranded and unlawful for sale. The complaint also alleges that J&J’s conduct caused economic damages to the plaintiffs, who relied on the ingredient list and advertising to decide whether to purchase the sunscreen.

On July 14, 2021, J&J admitted the products were unfit to sell due to unsafe levels of benzene, in a voluntary recall of five aerosol sunscreens. J&J has recalled all lots of these five products.

“Johnson & Johnson continued to market these sunscreen products as safe and healthy for consumers after being alerted to dangerous levels of a known, cancer-causing chemical,” said Keller Lenkner Partner Warren Postman. “Companies that knowingly sell cancer-causing products to the public should face serious consequences for their actions, and we will pursue all available remedies for consumers who were injured by Johnson & Johnson’s disregard for public health.”

The Keller Lenkner legal team includes partners Warren Postman and Seth Meyer, as well as associate Alex Dravillas. Alexandra Walsh and Kimberly Channick of Walsh Law PLLC and David B. Byrne III of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Mikes, P.C. are co-counsel on behalf of the plaintiffs.

The action is Dominguez et al v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., No. 3:21-cv-05419 and is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.