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