Johnson & Johnson is recalling all lots of five Neutrogena® and Aveeno® aerosol sunscreen product lines due to the presence of benzene.
Internal testing identified low levels of benzene in some samples of the products. 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, said J&J. Humans around the world have daily exposures indoors and outdoors to benzene from multiple sources. It can be absorbed, to varying degrees, by inhalation through the skin and orally.
Based on modelling from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) framework, daily exposure to benzene in these aerosol sunscreen products at the levels detected in the company’s testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences. Out of ‘an abundance of caution’, J&J is recalling these products.
In a statement, the company noted: “While benzene is not an active 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.”
Consumers are urged to stop using the affected products and follow the instructions laid out by J&J.
The only sunscreen products impacted are aerosols, specifically: 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.
J&J said consumers should stop using these specific products and ‘appropriately discard them’. Consumers can contact the JJCI Consumer Care Centre 24/7 with questions or request a refund by calling 1-800-458-1673.
Consumers are advised to contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have any questions, concerns or have experienced any issues related to using these aerosol sunscreen products. J&J is also notifying its distributors and retailers by letter and is arranging for the recalled products to be returned.
Adverse reactions to the aerosol sunscreen products listed, or quality problems experienced with the use of these products, can be reported to the US Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme.