Facts About Benzene Found in
Popular Sunscreens

There is not a safe level of benzene that can exist in sunscreen products.
Dr. Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Yale University

Why Benzene is Toxic

Dangerously high levels of cancer-causing benzene have been found in 78 sunscreen and after-sun products on store shelves today. Independent lab tests have discovered the chemical in popular sun-care products by Neutrogena, CVS Health, Banana Boat, and many others.

Benzene is a common industrial chemical that has long been linked to leukemia – a deadly form of blood cancer. The medical community is in agreement about benzene – no amount of exposure is safe.

These findings present grave concerns, especially for those caring for babies and children. Chemicals in sunscreen are known to absorb 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.

Most sunscreen products advise applying sunscreen over the entire body every two hours, so even a product with a small amount of benzene contamination can result in dangerous amounts of exposure. Starting as young as six months, many Americans apply sunscreen multiple times a day. In addition to benzene’s inherent health concerns, little is known about the effects of systemic daily exposure to the ingredients used to make sunscreen products.

Contaminated sun-care products should be removed from stores immediately while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works to create a system for better monitoring these dangerous chemicals.

Sunscreens Containing Benzene



Active Ingredients

Benzene ppm

% St Dev

benzene in sunscreen

What is Benzene?

A colorless, highly flammable liquid linked to cancer and blood disorders have been reported as far back as the late 1800s.


What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a broad term for cancers of the blood cells that can be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.


Sun Safety

Benzene contamination in sun-care products is a significant health and safety concern. See the list of products that tested positive for Benzene.

Latest Research and Findings

Cancer-causing benzene contamination has been found in 78 sunscreen and after-sun products, including name brands like Neutrogena, Banana Boat and CVS Health. Independent lab tests by Valisure shine a light on alarming gaps in oversight by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and raise questions about the safety and quality control of a wide range of these products.

Legal Issues

Medical research has exposed serious gaps in the regulation of sunscreen and after-sun products. The FDA considers benzene a “Class 1 Solvent” and outlaws its use in most cosmetics and most medical products. However, the agency does little to enforce these regulations or require that manufacturers ensure they are safe.

While FDA oversight may be toothless, companies like Johnson & Johnson, which makes Neutrogena brand products, have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their products. These companies can be held responsible in civil courts for injuries caused by dangerous and defective products.