Can Benzene in Deodorant Cause Leukemia?

December 14, 2021 | By Riddle & Brantley Accident Injury Lawyers
Can Benzene in Deodorant Cause Leukemia?

A recent recall issued by Proctor & Gamble has stirred a lot of questions about the safety of some popular deodorants. The recall is for Old Spice and Secret aerosol deodorants, and the reason for the recall is cited as “due to the presence of benzene.”

Benzene is a dangerous chemical recently discovered in certain deodorants and sunscreens. This has prompted serious consumer concern due to studies linking it to a higher risk of leukemia and other cancers. So, does this mean that deodorant can cause leukemia?

In this article we’ll explore the link between benzene in deodorants like Old Spice and Secret and leukemia to try and answer this important question.

AUGUST 2023 UPDATE: Please note that as of August 2023, we can no longer accept cases involving benzene contamination in sunscreen due to developments in the litigation. Please stay tuned to our website for more information as this litigation evolves.

What is Benzene?

Benzene is a chemical that is found in both nature and manufactured products. It is highly toxic to humans, and long-term exposure can cause “harmful effects on the bone marrow and can cause a decrease in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can also cause excessive bleeding and can affect the immune system, increasing the chance for infection,” according to the CDC.

Benzene is found naturally in the smoke of forest fires and volcanos. In man-made materials, it is widely used to create plastics, resins, and some synthetic fibers. It was recently discovered in several popular brands of deodorant and anti-perspirant, including certain Old Spice and Secret spray-on products, prompting deodorant leukemia lawsuits and others concerning other forms of cancer.

Health Risks Associated with Benzene

When benzene enters your system, it causes cells to stop functioning correctly. This occurs most frequently in bone marrow cells. Long-term exposure to benzene can cause bone marrow to produce fewer red blood cells, which can lead to anemia and put people at further risk for bone marrow diseases like leukemia.

Studies Linking Benzene to Leukemia

Does Deodorant Cause Leukemia

The health risks of benzene have been extensively studied. A 2010 study published in the Environmental Health journal found consistent evidence that exposure to benzene increases an individual’s risk for leukemia.

This study is further supported by research published in 2014 by Scientific Reports and in 2019 by the NIH, with both studies providing evidence that workers and individuals who were regularly exposed to benzene had a higher risk of developing leukemia than those who were not.

Benzene exposure can also cause other diseases of the blood-creating organs and immune system, such as various forms of lymphoma. A 2019 study in the International Journal of Cancer found strong links between benzene exposure and hematologic malignancies (cancers of blood-forming tissues), especially t-cell and follicular lymphoma.

To be clear, based on the evidence it seems reasonable to assume that benzene in contaminated deodorants can cause leukemia.

Benzene Discovered in Deodorants and Sunscreens

Prior to the Proctor & Gamble deodorant recall, there were already consumer lawsuits brought against manufacturers of personal care products that were found to contain benzene. Most notably, benzene was discovered in popular spray-on sunscreens from Neutrogena, Aveeno, Banana Boat, and Walgreens. This has led to sunscreen lawsuits against these brands.

Benzene in Deodorant and Leukemia Risk

Deodorant Leukemia Lawsuit - Riddle & Brantley

Now, independent testing firm Valisure has found that 59 different deodorant and antiperspirant body sprays contain benzene. The laboratory reported that some of the deodorants tested contained as much as nine times the conditionally restricted limit of benzene set by the FDA.

These high levels of benzene are sparking a lot of consumer concerns, especially since deodorant and antiperspirant products are intended for daily use. While there have yet to be any studies published specifically identifying the link between these specific products and the development of cancer, the presence of a known carcinogen like benzene exceeding “acceptable” levels comes with a significant amount of concern.

Symptoms of Leukemia

If you’re concerned that exposure to benzene may have put you at risk for leukemia, it’s important to talk to your physician. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of leukemia can include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Persistent fatigue, weakness
  • Frequent or severe infections
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Recurrent nosebleeds
  • Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae)
  • Excessive sweating, especially at night
  • Bone pain or tenderness

There are also symptoms associated with exposure to high doses of benzene, either inhaled or ingested, which include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Rapid heart rate

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a healthcare professional immediately.

What’s Next for Deodorant Companies?

While Proctor & Gamble has issued a voluntary recall of their products, they nevertheless deny any negligence or intentional wrongdoing in relation to the discovery of benzene in their products. Despite these denials, legal firms like Riddle & Brantley are watching as information continues to develop, which may indicate whether to take action against any of these companies.

Do You Have a Deodorant Leukemia Claim?

AUGUST 2023 UPDATE: Please note that as of August 2023, we can no longer accept cases involving benzene contamination in sunscreen due to developments in the litigation. Please stay tuned to our website for more information as this litigation evolves.

If you’ve used a recalled spray-on deodorant like certain Old Spice or Secret products and were later diagnosed with leukemia, you may be entitled to compensation in a deodorant leukemia lawsuit. For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced deodorant lawsuit attorney, please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the convenient form below.

PLEASE NOTE: Compensable claims related to these spray-on deodorants and body sprays do NOT include rash or burning under the arms.

There are no upfront costs and we don’t get paid unless you do. If we don’t recover compensation for you in your deodorant lawsuit, you won’t pay any attorney fees.

Call 1-800-525-7111 and let the experienced product liability lawyers at Riddle & Brantley help. Justice Counts for you and your loved ones.