By Emma Nitzsche
On Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson issued a voluntary recall on five of its Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen products after a low level of benzene was detected in some samples.
The recalled products included its Beach Defense Sunscreen, Cool Dry Sport Invisible Daily and Ultra Sheer, and Aveeno’s Protect & Refresh aerosol sunscreen. The recall includes all levels of sun protection and SPF.
Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen that can potentially cause cancer with repeated exposure. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the chemical is usually found in crude oil, gasoline, and cigarettes. Sustained benzene exposure is linked to acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Benzene is not an ingredient in J&J’s sunscreen, but it was present in some finished product samples. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the seriousness of benzene depends on the amount and length of time of the exposure.
“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,” the pharmaceutical company said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling all lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen products.”
J&J advised consumers to stop using the recalled products and discard them. If applicable, consumers can receive a refund by calling Consumer Care Center at 1-800-458-1673. Adverse medical reactions following the recall can be reported to the MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration online.
J&J sold and distributed the products across a variety of retail channels in America. The company will notify all affected retailers and schedule a return of the recalled product. Additionally, J&J reported that it updated the Food and Drug Administration about the recall status.