Recalled sunscreens may contain cancer causing chemical benzene

Johnson and Johnson is recalling five Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreens that may contain the cancer causing chemical benzene.

The recalled products are Neutrogena Beach Defense, Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport, Neutrogena Invisible Daily, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer and Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreens.


In May, consumer product testing company Valisure sounded the alarm, testing over 200 batches of 69 different sunscreen products. Valisure founder and CEO David Light said the Neutrogena products were of particular concern.

"All five of them were in the highest table for benzene contamination," he said.

At the time, Valisure petitioned the FDA to recall the products, which also included certain brands of Banana Boat and CVS Health sunscreens, along with others. More than three quarters of the products containing the chemical were sprays.

"What is known to happen with consistent exposure to benzene over time, is a higher risk of cancer, specifically leukemia," said Light.

Researchers think benzene gets into the sunscreen during the manufacturing process or somewhere along the supply chain.

"This is not an inherent problem of sunscreen. Benzene is not an ingredient. There are ingredients such as avobenzone and oxybenzone that may sound similar but they're completely different," said Light.

Valisure will test sunscreen for consumers free of charge. For now, consumers are being asked to stop using the recalled products. Retailers are expected to remove them from store shelves.

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