Man Claims Sunscreen Gave Him Leukemia
Deloy Southwell sued the manufacturer, E.T. Browne Co., in Bergen County Court. He claims Browne "knowingly failed to provide needed, accurate and adequate information regarding the health hazards of the product."
Southwell claims the product, which also is sold as a sunscreen, contains 2 percent hydroquinone. "Hydroquinone is a benzene metabolite and is converted to a more toxic metabolite, which is leukemogenic, when applied to the skin. It is accumulated in the bone marrow and its metabolite, p-benzoquinone, is a well known carcinogen associated with leukemia, including chronic myeloid leukemia," according to the complaint.
Southwell says the U.S. FDA issued a proposed rule in August 2006 "that would establish that over-the-counter skin bleaching products containing hydroquinone are not generally recognized as safe and effective and are misbranded."
He adds that Browne "knew or should have known that applying Palmer's Skin Success could cause serious injuries, including leukemia, in persons such as Mr. Southwell."
Southwell says he started using the cream in 2009 to "remove dark spots under his eyes and on his face, neck and hands," and that the packaging "failed to warn of various dangers and health risks."
Southwell says he "noticed a lump on his left chest wall" in September 2009 and was admitted to Montefiore Medical Center, where a bone marrow biopsy "revealed morphologic findings strongly suggestive of CML," - chronic myelogenous leukemia.
Southwell says he has been prescribed chemotherapy and "cannot afford private insurance and is currently applying for Medicaid benefits."
He says that if he is unable to take the prescribed medication, he will die.
He adds that products containing hydroquinone have been banned in the European Union, South Africa, Japan and Australia.
Southwell seeks damages for product liability, negligence, advertising fraud and breach of warranty.
He is represented by Scott Harford with Lynch, Daskal and Emery of New York, N.Y.