2022 in Review: Benzene Contamination


A look back at benzene found in personal care products throughout the year and how companies have responded.

2021 saw the first of many personal care products recalls due to detectable levels of benzene contamination, a well-known human carcinogen. Most notably, many batches of sunscreen and after-sun care products were recalled in May 2021 and caused widespread controversy. Since the concern of benzene found in sunscreen products, many other personal care products have been voluntarily recalled, including dry shampoo products. Valisure, an independent laboratory analyzing benzene contamination in consumer products, has been at the forefront of many of the benzene announcements.

Below is a recap of the continued conversations of benzene contaminations in 2022.

Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 Recalled

In late July 2022, Edgewell Personal Care Company announced the voluntary recall of Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 to consumers. After an internal investigation, some samples of the sunscreen were found to have contained trace levels of benzene. Benzene is not an ingredient found in Banana Boat products, but the investigation found unexpected levels of benzene in the propellant of the aerosol spray cans.

Unilever Issues Voluntary Recall for Popular Dry Shampoo Brands

In an announcement by the company that was published on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, Unilever United States said the recalled products were all manufactured prior to October 2021. The voluntary recall involves brands such as Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head), and TRESemmé. Unilever stated that the recall is out of an abundance of caution and said it has not received any reports of adverse events in relation to the recall.

5th Personal Care Product Category Recalled for Heightened Levels of Benzene

In an interview with Dermatology Times®, Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, associate professor of dermatology at Yale University, explains why it's important for clinicians and consumers to pay attention to the continued rise in evidence of benzene in personal hygiene products. The most recent recall of dry shampoos is the 5th personal care product category to be recalled due to detected levels of benzene.

Warning: Concerning Levels of Benzene Detected in Dry Shampoo Products

Just last week, Unilever voluntarily recalled 6 brands of dry shampoo, including Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TRESemmé, Bed Head, and Rockaholic due to potentially elevated levels of benzene. Benzene is a well-known human carcinogen. Now this week, Valisure, an independent laboratory that provides increased transparency and quality assurance throughout the healthcare industry, has detected high levels of benzene in several dry shampoo products and has submitted a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Citizen’s Petition.

David Light, CEO of Valisure, Reviews Petition Sent to FDA Regarding Benzene Contamination

In an interview with Dermatology Times®, David Light, CEO and one of the founders of Valisure, an independent laboratory that chemically tests drugs and consumer products, gave an overview of their recently submitted Citizen's Petition sent to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding concerning levels of benzene found in numerous dry shampoo products.

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