Sunscreen recall: Neutrogena, Aveeno products recalled over benzene

Neutrogena Beach Defense® Water + Sun Protection Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 70Beach Defense® Water + Sun Protection Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 70 (Credit: Neutrogena)

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. issued a voluntary recall Wednesday over certain Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen products due to the presence of benzene — a cancer-causing chemical. 

The recall includes Neutrogena’s Beach Defense, Cool Dry Sport, Invisible Daily defense and Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreens as well as Aveeno’s Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen.

According to a company statement, benzene is a human carcinogen that could potentially cause cancer depending on the level of exposure. The organic chemical compound is present in the environment with humans being exposed to it daily from multiple sources. Benzene can be absorbed through the skin or ingested orally. 

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the chemical is emitted from automobiles and burning coal and oil. 

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The company further stated that based on guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency, the level of benzene detected in the recalled products is not expected to cause adverse health conditions but the recall is in effect out of an abundance of caution. 

Company officials said they’re investigating how benzene was detected in some of their products as it is not an ingredient in any of the company’s sunscreens.

The company urges consumers to stop using and discard specific products. Refunds are available upon request from Johnson & Johnson. 

The company still promotes the use of sunscreen, saying it is critical to public health and prevents melanoma due to excessive sun exposure.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.