Many Common Beauty Products Contain Dangerous Chemicals
February 09, 2023
A number of everyday hair and body products – including deodorant sprays, dry shampoos and sunscreens – have been found to contain elevated levels of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical.
Benzene is a common chemical used in manufacturing and also found in cigarette smoke, gasoline, detergents and paint. We are routinely exposed to low levels from vehicle exhaust, factory emissions and other sources.
Which Products Have Been Recalled?
Benzene is not an ingredient of the beauty and body spray products that have been recalled. But the chemical may be related to the propellants or other components of aerosol sprays.
Recalled products have included:
- Dry shampoo sprays from the brands Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head), and TRESemmé.
- Dry shampoo and conditioner sprays from brands Aussie, Herbal Essences, Pantene, Waterless, Hair Food and Old Spice.
- Deodorant sprays from brands Sure, Brut, Suave, Secret and Old Spice.
- Sunscreen sprays from Neutrogena, Aveeno, Banana Boat and Coppertone.
- Foot sprays from Tinactin and Odor Eaters.
How Can You Minimize Your Risk?
Nobody is suggesting the recalled beauty products can give someone cancer. But prolonged exposure to benzene has been linked to serious illnesses.
“In small amounts over long periods of time, benzene can decrease the formation of blood cells,” according to the Food and Drug Administration. Long-term exposure to benzene through inhalation, oral intake, and skin absorption may result in cancers such as leukemia and other blood disorders.
Check Your Cabinets
The FDA says consumers should stop using recalled products found to contain elevated benzene levels. You can search a complete list of recalled products here.
Check the label of aerosol products to see if they contain a propellant powered by butane or other petroleum-based product.
An independent lab reported in October that it had tested 148 batches of dry shampoo products and found 70 percent contained benzene. Some samples analyzed directly from contaminated air suggest the sprayed product contained up to 170 times the FDA acceptable level of benzene. Eleven samples tested showed over 10 times the FDA limit.