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Procter & Gamble Sued Over Possible Benzene in Antiperspirants

Nov. 5, 2021, 2:25 PM

A customer hit Procter & Gamble Co. with a proposed class action in federal court in Florida, alleging the consumer product company failed to disclose that Old Spice and Secret aerosol antiperspirants could contain benzene, a human carcinogen.

Tova Bryski alleges that she bought Secret antiperspirant products “on dozens of occasions” over the last several years but wouldn’t have done so had she known about possible benzene adulteration.

The Thursday filing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida follows a citizen petition by independent testing lab Valisure, asking the Food and Drug Administration to recall numerous spray antiperspirant and deodorant products found to contain elevated levels of benzene.

Procter & Gamble’s antiperspirants were among the affected products.

There is “no safe level of benzene” exposure, so it’s unsuitable for human application as an ingredient in any antiperspirant, the lawsuit alleges.

Earlier this year, Valisure reported that various sunscreen products contained benzene. Those findings also led to litigation. Johnson & Johnson, which recalled sunscreen products found to have benzene, recently agreed to settle with consumers.

Causes of Action: Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act; unjust enrichment; breach of implied warranty; breach of express warranty.

Relief: Orders enjoining Procter & Gamble from selling the products or representing that they are safe for use; corrective advertising; restitution; damages.

Potential Class Size: Unknown number of members in nationwide class, Florida subclass.

Response: Procter & Gamble didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Attorneys: Levin Litigation PLLC, Honik LLC, and Kanner & Whiteley LLC represent Bryski.

The case is Bryski v. Procter & Gamble Co., S.D. Fla., No. 0:21-cv-62285, complaint 11/4/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Steinberg in Washington at jsteinberg@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Brian Flood at bflood@bloomberglaw.com