Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday announced that the company is recalling five of its Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen products after finding traces of cancer-causing benzene in some samples. In a
The company said consumers should stop using the affected canisters of aerosol sunscreen products. The recall covers all can sizes and SPF levels, which were distributed nationwide in the US.
The specific products being recalled are:
NEUTROGENA Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen
NEUTROGENA Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen
NEUTROGENA Invisible Daily defense aerosol sunscreen
NEUTROGENA Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen
AVEENO Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen
Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen, a substance that could potentially cause cancer depending on the level and extent of exposure. "While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our sunscreen products, it was detected in some samples of the impacted aerosol sunscreen finished products. We are investigating the cause of this issue, which is limited to certain aerosol sunscreen products," J&J stated on its website. It urged consumers to stop using the sunscreens immediately and said customers can get a refund by calling J&J’s Consumer Care Center at 1-800-458-1673.
Even if low amounts, repeated exposure to benzene is carcinogenic. The chemical can be absorbed, to varying degrees, by inhalation, through the skin, and orally. "Based on exposure modeling and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) framework, 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. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling all lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen products," the company added.
Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can cause leukemia or other cancers.