As previously mentioned in our June 2021 article, “Are Benzene Contaminated Sunscreens Safe to Use?“, and August 2021 article, “Johnson & Johnson Recalls Neutrogena and Aveeno Sunscreen Over Benzene Contamination Concerns“, popular sunscreen manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has issued a voluntary recall of five Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen products.
Since these articles were published, Bayer AG voluntarily pulled athlete’s foot and jock itch Lotrimin and Tinactin aerosols from shelves after tests from samples showed benzene contamination. The testing for these aerosol products is being conducted by Valisure, a Connecticut-based testing lab that has tested 108 batches of aerosols from 30 brands, ranging from antiperspirants to other body sprays. The test results showed 59 batches of antiperspirants contained levels of benzene at nearly triple the levels contained by the contaminated sunscreens.
What Aerosol Antiperspirants Are Affected?
According to a November 2021 news report, “Leukemia-Causing Benzene Found in Underarm Sprays“, antiperspirants affected by these findings include products from popular brands, such as Old Spice and Secret:
Antiperspirant sprays from Procter & Gamble Co. brands Old Spice and Secret contained the highest levels of benzene. An antiperspirant spray from Walmart Inc.’s Equate brand and one from Unilever PLC’s Suave were also high on the list. Most of the sprays that Valisure found to contain benzene were meant only for underarms, though the lab did find some benzene in a Victoria’s Secret & Co. spray deodorant meant to be used all over the body and a Summer’s Eve spray from Prestige Consumer Healthcare Inc. meant for the vaginal area.
Valisure found that products containing butane were at a higher risk of having elevated benzene levels. On the other hand, products using alcohol as the propellant instead were least likely to be contaminated with benzene. Valisure reported benzene levels up to almost 18 parts per million in the antiperspirants. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently has no clear benzene threshold for products, its current guidance for the threshold for drug contamination is 2 parts per million.
As always, we will continue to monitor the issues surrounding Benzene contamination and will provide you with any new or relevant information.
For more information, view our Benzene Overview page, or our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Written by: Lauren Schwab, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.