Johnson & Johnson Voluntarily Recalls Some Aveeno & Neutrogena Sunscreens
You’ll want to immediately stop using these recalled sunscreens as they contain low levels of a cancer-causing chemical.
Families are urged to double-check their sunscreens as soon as possible. Johnson & Johnson announced Wednesday it had initiated a voluntary recall of some Neutrogena and Aveeno brand aerosol sunscreen products after internal testing revealed low levels of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical, in product samples. The recall comes roughly a month after the online pharmacy and analytical laboratory Valisure reported finding benzene in dozens of sunscreen and after-sun products spread across a number of brands.
“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,” Johnson & Johnson said in its recall notice. “We are investigating the cause of this issue, which is limited to certain aerosol sunscreen products.”
The company has voluntarily recalled its Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen, its Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen, its Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen, its Neutrogena Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen, and its Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen. Consumers are urged to immediately stop using the recalled products — but not sunscreen altogether.
“Sunscreen use is critical to public health,” Johnson & Johnson said. “Melanoma incidences continue to increase worldwide, and the majority of cases 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.”
While benzene is a known carcinogen often found in outdoor and indoor air thanks to its presence in motor vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions, gas station fumes, tobacco smoke, paint, furniture wax, detergents, and more, high rates of exposure can have a serious impact on people’s health. According to the National Cancer Institute, benzene exposure can increase an individual’s risk of developing leukemia and other blood disorders. When absorbed directly through the skin or via the eyes or lungs, benzene can cause tissue injury and irritation, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In a recall alert issued Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson assured customers that the levels of benzene they’d detected in product samples were not high enough to negatively impact consumers' health. “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,” the company said, noting it had issued the recall “out of an abundance of caution.”
Consumers who find they are in possession of any of the five recalled products may contact Johnson & Johnson’s Consumer Inc. Customer Care Center at 1-800-458-1673 to request a recall. Additionally, consumers who experienced adverse reactions or other quality issues following the use of any of the recalled sunscreens are encouraged to report that to the Food and Drug Administration's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.