J&J recalls sunscreens after carcinogen found in some sprays

Just as Americans are finally enjoying the great outdoors after being couped up for months, a big warning comes from one of the country’s most trusted brands: Johnson & Johnson is voluntarily recalling five sunscreen products after it found a cancer-causing chemical in some of them.

The company said Wednesday consumers should stop using five of its aerosol sunscreens and throw them out: Neutrogena Beach Defense, Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer, Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport, and Aveeno Protect + Refresh.

J&J said internal testing detected low levels of benzene in some samples even though it’s not an ingredient in its sunscreen products. That chemical could potentially cause cancer depending on the level and extent of exposure.

The company says it’s investigating the cause of the contamination and is in touch with regulatory agencies over the recall. It’s telling distributors and retailers to halt sales of the products, it says, “out of an abundance of caution.”

The recall is another blow to the storied consumer products giant. The company already faces billions of dollars of potential court losses and settlements from damages related to its baby powder, vaginal mesh implants and opioid painkillers. And J&J’s one-shot vaccine that some viewed as a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19 has not only been hurt by production problems but has also been linked to two very rare side effects.

J&J shares declined in early trading Thursday.

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