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Johnson & Johnson announced on Wednesday, July 14, that it is recalling several of its sunscreen products from five different product lines after discovering they contained benzene, a known cancer-causing chemical.
The specific products being recalled are:
- Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen.
- Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen.
- Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen.
- Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen.
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen.
All the affected products are packaged in aerosols cans. All can sizes and all levels of sun protection factor, or SPF, were recalled.
Johnson & Johnson has recommended that consumers stop using the above-mentioned aerosolized sunscreens. The company has also already notified all of its distributors and retailers to stop selling the products. It is currently working on a way to get all of the unsold cans returned.
“Daily exposure to benzene in these aerosol sunscreen products at the levels detected in our testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences,” said Johnson & Johnson in its statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling all lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen products. (Related: Cancer-causing chemical detected in 78 sunscreens, FDA petitioned to recall contaminated products.)
Benzene has strong links to blood cancers
Benzene is a widely used industrial chemical and a known carcinogen. Johnson & Johnson claimed it did not list benzene on the product labels because it is not used as an ingredient in sunscreen formulations. The company added that the cancer-causing substance may have contaminated the sunscreen products somewhere during the manufacturing process.
Significant traces of benzene were detected in dozens of popular sunscreen and similar products according to tests done by the online pharmacy company Valisure. Benzene was found in 78 of the nearly 300 sunscreen products Valisure tested, including products sold by big pharmacy retail companies like CVS.