Benzene Contamination Is a Serious Health Hazard
It should be noted that benzene is not one of the ingredients in the formulation of deodorants and antiperspirants. The issue stems from contamination during the manufacturing process, as this is how benzene ends up in these products.
At room temperature, benzene is an opaque or slightly-yellow, highly-flammable liquid with a sweet smell; it's used in manufacturing rubber, dyes, plastic, and pesticide products and can be naturally created by wildfires or erupting volcanoes.
Several federal and international organizations, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the World Health Organization (WHO), categorize benzene as a significant health hazard that can lead to the onset of multiple types of cancers. In the US, benzene is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which classifies the substance as a class 1 solvent.
The FDA stresses that drug companies should not use benzene when manufacturing their products. However, its presence is tolerated in a limited range of drugs that provide significant therapeutic advance but is restricted to only 2 parts per million (ppm). Concurrently, the EPA set a maximum permissible level of only 5 parts per billion (ppb) for benzene in drinking water.
When individuals apply benzene deodorants on their skin, the benzene is absorbed, ending up in the bloodstream, and carried to other tissues and organs. A systematic review of the available medical research notes that benzene is considered to trigger cancer development due to its adverse effects on the immune system and its propensity to cause chronic inflammation. Benzene from contaminated deodorants can accumulate in the body as a result of chronic exposure, placing individuals that regularly use them at an elevated risk of cancer.
Eligibility Criteria for Toxic Deodorant Claims
Any individual that has come to struggle with cancer after using contaminated deodorants and antiperspirants should reach out to our legal team and find out how they can gain financial compensation for their struggle. A set of eligibility requirements must first be met to file a toxic deodorant claim against the liable manufacturers.
- Must have used benzene-contaminated deodorants consistently for at least 1 year
- Must have applied contaminated deodorants 4 to 5 times a week
- Must have at least 6 months of usage before being diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma
- Must have been diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma after 2016/2017
In order to qualify, demonstrating the sustained use of benzene-contaminated deodorants over a prolonged period is crucial since only long-term exposure holds a definitive connection to the onset and development of cancer. If you meet these criteria, our highly experienced attorneys can help you obtain the compensation you're entitled to.
We encourage you to seek us out even if you have doubts about qualifying under the criteria listed above, as every case is unique with its own complexities, and you could actually be eligible.
Aerosol Deodorant Brands That Have Been Found to Contain Benzene
Valisure notes that exposure to benzene only occurs with spray deodorants and antiperspirants, most likely due to the chemicals used as propellants to dispense the deodorant out of the can. Regardless of the source, benzene concentrations in some deodorants have been reported to be almost 9 times higher than acceptable FDA levels.
Valisure's independent research analyzed 108 unique batches from 30 separate brands. They identified benzene contamination in deodorants from leading brands like Old Spice, Secret, Tag, Sure, Equate, Suave, Right Guard, Brut, and Sure.
Although concentration variability in a single brand could differ from batch to batch, products from the brands mentioned above were found to contain benzene levels between 2.24 and 17.7 ppm. Individuals that used any of the following deodorants should cease applying them immediately:
- Old Spice Pure Sport – 17.7 ppm avg.
- Old Spice Below Deck – 6.52 ppm avg.
- Old Spice Sweat Defense Strong Swagger– 4.54 ppm avg.
- Secret Powder Fresh – 17.4 ppm avg.
- Secret Cool Light & Airy Smooth Feel – 4.85 ppm avg.
- Sure, Lasts All Day – 11.1 ppm avg.
- Tag Fine Fragrance Body Spray (Midnight) – 14.1 ppm avg.
- Tag Fine Fragrance Body Spray (Sport/Fearless) – 2.53 ppm avg.
- Tag Fine Fragrance Body Spray (Sport/Dominate) – 2.30 ppm avg.
- Suave 24-hour protection Powder – 5.21 ppm avg.
- Suave 24-hour protection Fresh – 2.30 ppm avg.
- Brut Classic, 24-hour protection – 4.13 ppm avg.
- Right Guard Sport, Fresh – 5.00 ppm avg.
- Equate Dry Spray – 6.15 ppm avg.
If you have been using one of the deodorants found to contain benzene, you can now request a safe, non-toxic product by virtue of our Benzene Deodorant Replacement Initiative.
Companies Liable for Benzene-Contaminated Deodorants
Individuals that filed lawsuits against one or more of the manufacturers whose deodorants and antiperspirants contained benzene will be awarded financial compensation if the companies are found responsible for acting in a negligent, reckless or intentional manner. Manufacturers' actions may be deemed intentional if they knew about the benzene content in their products beforehand and chose to ignore the issue, either out of convenience or to save money on expensive testing for toxic contaminants.
As a result, companies such as Procter & Gamble (Old Spice, Secret), Unilever (Suave, Sure, Brut), and Walmart (Equate) could face a series of strict liability, product liability, and negligence claims, including:
- defective design
- manufacturing defect
- failure to warn
- improper warning labels
- consumer fraud
- deceptive trade practices
- negligence per se
- gross negligence
- fraudulent concealment
- fraudulent misrepresentation
- negligent misrepresentation
- breach of implied warranties
Voluntary Recall of Benzene-Contaminated Deodorants
On November 23, 2021, Procter & Gamble (P&G) issued a voluntary recall of 18 specific Old Spice and Secret brand aerosol spray deodorants with expiry dates through September 2023, citing "an abundance of caution" after benzene contamination was detected.
Even in small concentrations, benzene's toxicity poses a significant health threat, especially considering how many people consistently apply it once or multiple times a day. Even though P&G's recall could be regarded as ethical, it has faced lawsuits over its benzene-contaminated deodorants, which has recently seen the company settling out of court for an undisclosed amount.
The deodorants that have been recalled for their toxic benzene contents are:
- Secret Aerosol Powder Fresh Twin Pack
- Secret Aerosol Powder Fresh 12/6OZ
- Secret Aerosol Powder Fresh 12/4OZ
- Secret Fresh Collection Inv Spray Waterlily 3.8oz
- Secret Fresh Collection Inv Spray Lavender 12/3.8oz
- Secret Fresh Collection Inv Spray Water Lily 12/3.8oz
- Secret Fresh Collection Inv Spray Light Essentials 12/3.8oz
- Secret Fresh Collection Inv Spray Rose 12/3.8oz
- Secret Outlast Inv Spray Completely Clean 12/3.8oz
- Secret Outlast Inv Spray Protecting Powder 12/3.8oz
- Old Spice Pure Sport 2021 Gift Set
- Old Spice High Endurance AP Spray Pure Sport 12/6oz
- Old Spice Below Deck Powder Spray Unscented 12/4.9oz
- Old Spice Below Deck Powder Spray Fresh Air 12/4.9oz
- Old Spice Hardest Working Collection Inv Spray Stronger Swagger 3.8oz
- Old Spice Hardest Working Collection Inv Spray Pure Sport Plus 12/3.8oz
- Old Spice Hardest Working Collection Inv Spray Ult Captain 12/3.8oz
- Old Spice Hardest Working Collection Inv Spray Stronger Swagger 12/3.8oz
In February 2022, several Brute and Sure branded antiperspirant and deodorant products were recalled due to benzene being detected. Consequently, consumers are advised to stop using and safely dispose of any of the following products if their expiration date is before August 2023:
- Brut Classic Antiperspirant Aerosol, 4oz
- Brut Classic Antiperspirant Aerosol, 6oz
- Brut Classic Deodorant Aerosol, 154g
- Brut Classic Deodorant Aerosol, 10oz
- Sure Regular Antiperspirant Aerosol, 6oz
- Sure Unscented Antiperspirant Aerosol, 6oz
On March 30, 2022, Unilever also issued a recall of 2 products that were discontinued in October 2021 for "business reasons" after sample testing found "slightly elevated" benzene levels.
- Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Powder 4 oz. and 6 oz.
- Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Fresh 6 oz.
Since benzene is not an ingredient in any of the previously named products, contamination likely occurred from chemicals used as spray propellants like propane, butane, isobutane, and hydrofluorocarbon 152a.
Benzene Deodorants Timeline of Research, Recalls, and Lawsuits
Although the issue of benzene in antiperspirant and deodorant products is reasonably new, multiple developments have taken place over the past year, including recalls issued by major companies and lawsuits filed by consumers exposed to contaminated deodorants. The following timeline highlights the most significant events concerning benzene-contaminated deodorants:
- May 3, 2022 – Plaintiffs in MDL-3025 and P&G agree to settle out of court.
- April 7, 2022 – Multiple lawsuits against P&G transferred to Southern District of Florida Court, united under MDL-3025.
- March 30, 2022 – Unilever issues recall of 2 Suave brand products.
- March 22, 2022 – The FDA goes after Valisure accusing the independent pharmacy of operating without proper regulatory approvals, which Valisure denies.
- February 16, 2022 – Recall of Sure and Brut benzene-contaminated deodorants.
- January 20, 2022 – Antonio Morris class action complaint against Unilever in the Northern District of Illinois. (Action pending)
- January 18, 2022 – Kristine Goytia class action complaint against Unilever in Eastern District of NY Court. Voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff on February 24, 2022.
- December 29, 2021 – Clay Harris class action complaint against Walmart in Southern District of Ohio Court. The case is transferred to the Eastern District of New York on March 16, 2022. (Action pending)
- December 16, 2021 – Brad A. Davis class action complaint against Henkel in Ohio Southern District Court. Is transferred to Connecticut District Court on February 2, 2022 (similar to Wilson v. Thriving Brands and Henkel – Action Pending)
- December 14, 2021 - Procter & Gamble Files Petition Seeking Creation of MDL Docket for Claims Involving Benzene in Aerosol Deodorants.
- December 14, 2021 – Marianna Campbell class action complaint against P&G in Southern District of Ohio Court. (Becomes part of MDL-3025)
- December 6, 2021 - Peter Carbone class action complaint against Thriving Brands LLC and Henkel Corporation (Right Guard brand) in Eastern District of NY Court. Voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff on January 14, 2021.
- November 24, 2021 – Mosanthony Wilson and James Corsey class action complaint against Thriving Brands LLC and Henkel Corporation (Right Guard brand). Transferred to Connecticut District Court on February 1, 2022. (Action pending)
- November 23, 2021 – Dawn Van Der Steeg class action complaint against Walmart in Southern Florida. Gets transferred to New York’s Eastern District Court on March 14, 2022. (Action pending)
- November 23, 2021 – P&G issues recall of benzene deodorants.
- November 19, 2021 – Yvonne Barnes and Patricia Dean class action complaint against Unilever in Northern Illinois District Court. (Action pending)
- November 15, 2021 – Otto Delcid class action complaint against P&G in Southern District of NY Court. (Becomes part of MDL-3025)
- November 12, 2021 – Angela Leyva class action complaint against Unilever in Southern District of Florida Court. (Action pending)
- November 4, 2021 – Tova Bryski class action complaint against P&G in Southern District of Florida Court. (Becomes part of MDL-3025)
- November 3, 2021 – Valisure announced the detection of high levels of benzene.