Johnson & Johnson is recalling five of its Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen products due to low levels of benzene, a chemical that can cause cancer with repeated exposure.
On Wednesday, the company issued a statement announcing a voluntary recall and urged consumers to discard the products if they had already purchased them. The Neutrogena aerosol sunscreens that have been recalled are the Beach Defense, Cool Dry Sport Invisible Daily and Ultra Sheer varieties, in addition to Aveeno's Protect + Refresh spray sunscreen.
Consumers can receive a refund by calling Johnson & Johnson's Consumer Care Center at at 1-800-458-1673.
"While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our sunscreen products, it was detected in some samples of the impacted aerosol sunscreen finished products," the pharmaceutical giant said of internal testing. "We are investigating the cause of this issue, which is limited to certain aerosol sunscreen products."
A human carcinogen, benzene can potentially cause cancer depending on the level and extent of exposure.
Getty Person using sunscreen
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, benzene is a highly flammable substance that can damage the immune system and cause cells to not work correctly. It can be absorbed through the skin, inhalation, and orally.
Johnson & Johnson stressed that the decision to pull the products was made "out of an abundance of caution," adding that the now-recalled aerosol sunscreens had been distributed nationwide.
"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," the company said. "Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling all lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen products."
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