Johnson & Johnson is voluntarily recalling all lots of five Neutrogena and Aveeno brand sunscreens due to the presence of benzene in some samples of the products.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that benzene causes cancer in humans. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause leukemia, cancer of the blood forming organs. Some women who breathed high levels of benzene for many months had irregular menstrual periods and a decrease in the size of their ovaries. According to the CDC, it is not known whether benzene exposure affects the developing fetus in pregnant women or fertility in men. The CDC also says benzene can have a long-term effect on the blood; benzene causes harmful effects on the bone marrow and can cause a decrease in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can also cause excessive bleeding and can affect the immune system, increasing the chance for infection.
Johnson & Johnson addressed the levels of benzene present in a statement released to the media today. “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. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling all lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen products. ”
The only sunscreen products impacted are aerosol products, 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.
Benzene is not a normal ingredient in any of these sunscreens and Johnson & Johnson is evaluating how it got into the sunscreen samples that were tested.
According to Johnson & Johnson, consumers should stop using these specific products and appropriately discard them. Consumers may contact the JJCI Consumer Care Center 24/7 with questions or to request a refund by calling 1-800-458-1673. Consumers should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have any questions, concerns or have experienced any problems related to using these aerosol sunscreen products. JJCI is also notifying its distributors and retailers by letter and is arranging for returns of all recalled products. The products in question were sold nationwide by a variety of retailers, both online and offline.
This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.