Johnson & Johnson Recalls Five Sunscreens After Detecting Cancer-Causing Chemical


The Johnson & Johnson company is voluntarily recalling five of its Neutrogena and Aveeno brand sunscreens after finding a cancer-causing chemical in some samples.

The company said Wednesday consumers should stop using the products and throw them away once internal testing found low levels of benzene in some of the samples, Reuters reported.

In a press release, Johnson & Johnson said, “The only sunscreen products impacted are aerosol products,” which are listed as follows:

Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen, Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen, Neutrogena Invisible Daily defense aerosol sunscreen, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen, and Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen.

The news release continued:

Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen, a substance that could potentially cause cancer depending on the level and extent of exposure. Benzene is ubiquitous in the environment. Humans around the world have daily exposures indoors and outdoors from multiple sources. Benzene 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.

“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,” the company said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also announced the recall on its Twitter page:

In addition, Johnson & Johnson noted “Sunscreen use is critical to public health,” adding that cases of melanoma have continued to rise worldwide, the majority of which are caused by “excessive sun exposure.”

“It is important that people everywhere continue to take appropriate sun protection measures, including the continued use of alternative sunscreen,” the news release stated.

Johnson & Johnson is notifying distributors and retailers and arranging for returns of the recalled products.

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