Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 Recalled

Edgewell Personal Care Company issued a voluntary national recall of 3 collections of Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen due to the presence of benzene.

In late July 2022, Edgewell Personal Care Company announced the voluntary recall of Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 to consumers.1 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.

3 batch codes were recalled, including:

UPC

Description

Lot Code

Expiration

Size

0-79656-04041-8

Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Spray SPF 30

20016AF

December 2022

6 oz

0-79656-04041-8

Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Spray SPF 30

20084BF

February 2023

6 oz

0-79656-04041-8

Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Spray SPF 30

21139AF

April 2024

6 oz

No other batches of Banana Boat Hair & Scalp, before or after the 3 batch codes, are part of the voluntary recall. Additionally, no other Banana Boat products contain benzene and are safe for consumers to use.

"It is not surprising to me that yet another product has been recalled due to contamination with the well-known human carcinogen benzene - in this case some Banana Boat hair and scalp sunscreen sprays," said Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, associate professor of dermatology at the Yale Department of Dermatology in New Haven, Connecticut. "Although not unique to sprays, sprays have tended to have the most problems with benzene contamination, including in sunscreens, anti-perspirants, and anti-fungal over-the-counter products."

Benzene is an organic chemical classified as a human carcinogen that is formed both naturally and man-made.2 Volcanoes and forest fires are natural sources of benzene. Crude oil, gasoline, cigarette smoke, glue, and certain paints all contain varying levels of benzene. According to the FDA, “Exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin and it potentially can result in cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow and blood disorders which can be life threatening. To date, Edgewell has not received any adverse events related to this recall.”

Humans come into contact with trace amounts of benzene daily in outdoor and indoor environments. Daily exposure to benzene due to the Banana Boat sunscreen is not expected to cause adverse events.

"I commend Edgewell Personal Care Company, the maker of Banana Boat sunscreens, for performing and reporting their quality control findings. This transparency and commitment to correcting the benzene contamination problem in the manufacturing process of personal care products is necessary to improve their safety and protect the health of the public, especially given that robust research into the long-term effects of benzene exposure through personal care products is still lacking at this time," said Bunick.

Edgewell has notified all retailers to remove any remaining products from their shelves. Banana Boat is also offering reimbursements to consumers who purchased a product with one of the lot codes in the table above. Any adverse events related to the use of the product should be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program via mail, fax, or online.

References:

  1. Edgewell personal care issues voluntary nationwide recall of banana boat hair & scalp sunscreen due to the presence of benzene. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published July 29, 2022. Accessed August 9, 2022. https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/edgewell-personal-care-issues-voluntary-nationwide-recall-banana-boat-hair-scalp-sunscreen-due
  2. Facts about benzene. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Published May 15, 2019. Accessed August 9, 2022. https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/benzene/basics/facts.asp