Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is recalling five Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen products after tests revealed small amounts of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical.
The company announced the recall on Wednesday, noting that most of its spray sunscreens were affected. J&J is asking consumers to stop using:
- Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen
- Neutrogena CoolDry Sport aerosol sunscreen
- Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen
- Neutrogena UltraSheer aerosol sunscreen.
- Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen
J&J said the move is out of an “abundance of caution,” and that daily exposure to benzene at such low levels would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences. Retailers will be notified to stop selling the products and return them to J&J.
The move comes just over a month after a lab singled out these products among 40 other sunscreen products as risky, saying they were contaminated with benzene. The full list of contaminated products can be found on a citizen petition and includes the following brands:
- Banana Boat
- CVS Health
- Sun Bum
- Up & Up
Valisure, a pharmaceutical testing company, tested 294 batches of sunscreen from 69 different brands. It concluded the problem is likely rooted in specific batches, not the brands’ formulations.
Of the brands identified, J&J was the first to recall its contaminated products. J&J said it tested the sunscreens in an independent laboratory to corroborate the results, and is now investigating how the chemical made its way into the products.
On Thursday, CVS Health halted sales of its After Sun Aloe Vera lotion and spray, according to reports on Twitter. A representative of the company confirmed to Insider that they are taking the products off shelves, but have not issued a formal recall.
Repeated exposure to the benzene in large amounts is linked to cancers such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
However, consumers can take comfort in knowing that there’s a system in place to identify and recall contaminated products. Doctors strongly recommend people continue to use sunscreen and check Valisure’s list to make sure their favorite SPF is not affected.
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