A proposed class action claims the makers of certain Banana Boat sunscreens have failed to disclose that the products contain benzene, a well-known human carcinogen.
According to the 25-page lawsuit, the presence of the cancer-causing toxin is not listed anywhere on the sunscreens’ packaging or labels, which purport to disclose both their active and inactive ingredients. The case claims consumers would not have purchased the products, or would not have paid as much for them, had they known the sunscreen contained benzene, the presence of which the plaintiff says renders the products “in no way safe for humans” and “entirely worthless.”
Aside from demanding monetary damages, the lawsuit looks to provide medical monitoring for those who were allegedly exposed to the substance.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Edgewell Personal Care Company and four subsidiaries, including Edgewell Personal Care Brands, LLC; Edgewell Personal Care, LLC; Playtex Products, LLC; and Sun Pharmaceuticals, LLC. The case, filed August 4 in New York federal court, claims the defendants have attempted to capitalize on consumers’ desire for healthy and safe products by selling the Banana Boat sunscreens at a premium price without disclosing that they contain benzene.
“When consumers look at the Products’ packaging there is no mention of benzene,” the complaint alleges. “Benzene is not listed in the ingredients section, nor is there any warning about the inclusion (or even potential inclusion) of benzene in the Products. This leads reasonable consumers to believe the Products do not contain dangerous chemicals like benzene.”
Despite what consumers are led to believe, the Banana Boat products, in fact, contain benzene, the lawsuit charges. Per the case, the latest research has shown that “there is no safe level of benzene exposure,” which has been linked to bone marrow damage, anemia, immune system damage and leukemia. Direct exposure to benzene through the skin is “particularly concerning,” the suit attests, given the substance can cause tissue injury and irritation and can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
According to the case, research performed by online pharmacy and analytical lab Valisure LLC has revealed that benzene was detected in a number of popular sunscreen products, including the defendants’ Banana Boat sunscreens. Following the May 2021 filing of Valisure’s citizen petition urging the FDA to recall the purportedly contaminated products, lawsuits began rolling in as some manufacturers issued voluntary recalls of their sunscreens. As of the date this lawsuit was filed, the defendants have yet to issue a recall for the Banana Boat products.
While the lawsuit looks to cover consumers who bought any of the following Banana Boat sunscreens, batches of which were reportedly found by Valisure to contain benzene, at least one batch of the Banana Boat Kids Max Protect & Play Sunscreen C-Spray SPF 100 also appeared on Valisure’s list of products that were found to not contain benzene: