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Some Target Up & Up acne products subject of federal class action suit

Star Tribune - 4/16/2024

Target is facing a class action lawsuit after a Connecticut lab reportedly found high amounts of the cancer-causing chemical benzene were generated by some of Target's Up & Up acne treatments and other popular skin care items.

The lawsuit states that had Target said on its labels there was benzene in its benzoyl peroxide (BPO) acne products and a risk of cancer, defendants would not have bought the products.

Target did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

The federal lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, said Up & Up BPO products were found to decompose into unsafe levels of benzene when stored at high temperatures.

Long-term exposure to benzene can cause cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In studies done by Valisure, an independent laboratory, several over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide products were found to produce high levels of benzene when subjected to temperatures as high as 70 degrees Celsius, which is supposed to replicate storage in a hot vehicle, the lawsuit said.

Valisure reported that benzene was found in numerous benzoyl peroxide products on the market including Up & Up 2.5% BPO Cream, Proactiv 2.5% BPO Cream and Walgreens 10% BPO Cream. Last month, Valisure filed a citizen petition with the Food and Drug Administration calling for recalls of the products, the lawsuit said.

Valisure, according to the lawsuit, said its tests showed that BPO medications are "fundamentally unstable and can generate unacceptably high levels of benzene when handled or stored at higher temperatures that the products may be exposed to during handling by consumers."

The two named plaintiffs, who live in California and Nebraska, said they checked the labels and would not have bought the products had a warning been affixed.

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