Five Sunscreens Voluntarily Recalled; Many More Also Contain Carcinogen

December 31 Update: Proctor and Gamble issued a voluntary recall of 32 dry spray shampoos and conditioners that also were found to contain benzene. The products include the brands, Panetene, Aussie, Herbal Essences, Waterl<ss, Hair Food and Old Spice. 

October 4 Update: Five more sunscreen sprays recalled for benzene contamination. The new group is from Coppertone and includes: 

  • Coppertone Pure & Simple SPF 50 (5 oz aerosol  spray)
  • Coppertone Pure & Simple Kids SPF 50 (5 oz aerosol spray)
  • Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50 (5 oz aerosol spray)
  • Coppertone Sport Minteral SPF 50 (5 oz aerosol spray)
  • Travel-size Coppertone Sport Spray SPF 50 (1.6 oz aerosol spray)

You can find photos of the products and information about specific lot # and refunds here.

Continuing a recent trend, Johnson & Johnson recalled five sunscreens that were shown to contain unsafe levels of benzene, a known carcinogen. The recalled sunscreens are:

  • 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.

Back in May, an independent company, Valisure, announced that it had detected benzene in 78 different sunscreens. 

The chemical is considered a contaminant, meaning it is not supposed to be in the sunscreen to begin with. The company does not yet know how benzene found its way into the sprays.

Several scientists told the Washington Post that the benzene is unlikely to harm users, as it evaporates very quickly after the sunscreen is sprayed. Benzene is also present in the air we breathe daily, but if you ingest or inhale too much, you may become dizzy, disoriented, experience a rapid heart beat or even die. Long term exposure can cause anemia, irregular menstruation and certain cancers.

Just in case, Ranella Hirsh, MD, a dermatologist, posted a list of the products that were tested and found to be free of benzene contamination on Instagram, along with a caption encouraging people to continue using sunscreen to prevent skin cancer.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ranella Hirsch MD, FAAD (@ranellamd)

If you have used any of these sunscreens and experienced an adverse event, you can report it using FDA’s MedWatch system.

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