Unilever Sued Over Undisclosed Benzene in Antiperspirants

A complaint lodged against Unilever United States Inc. accuses the company of deceptive and misleading business practices, with regard to  the marketing and sale of their antiperspirant body spray products. The plaintiff alleges Unilever failed to disclose that their products contain benzene.

The complaint cited research establishing  that benzene can be absorbed by the body through the lungs and across the skin. The complaint cites both The National Toxicology Program:, which stated that“[benzene is] known to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans;” and the Centers for Disease Control, which explained that  benzene can cause severe health issues like  anemia, immune system damage, and cancer. Moreover, according to the complaint, the use of benzene in a body spray is particularly hazardous because the spray is applied directly onto the skin; with the remnants in the air likely to be inhaled afterward.  

The complaint stated that consumers like the plaintiff, Kristine Goytia, trust manufacturers like the defendant to sell products free from harmful toxins; consumers lack the ability to accurately ascertain whether a product contains unsafe substances and therefore rely on manufacturers like the defendant for such information. The complaint accuses Unilever United States Inc. of intentionally concealing their use of benzene in their body spray products because they advertise and market their products specifically to health-conscious consumers.

The defendant is accused of violating New York General Business Law 349 and 350, the breach and continued breaching of its warranties regarding its own products. The complaint states the value of the products sold to the plaintiff and others like the plaintiff is lost due to the known carcinogen used in the products. Lastly, the plaintiff brings a claim for medical monitoring costs on behalf of herself and others who purchased the products during the applicable statute of limitations period.

The plaintiff is represented by The Sultzer Law Group