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Sunscreen recall 2021: What you should know

 Johnson & Johnson recalling sunscreens due to benzene traces

Sunscreen recall 2021: What you should know

Independent pharmaceutical testing company Valisure recently found that 78 lots of sunscreens and sun care products contained benzene, a known carcinogen that has been linked to blood cancer and other illnesses. Of the 78 batches with detectable levels, 40 products were found to have “significantly detected” levels of benzene. 

The problem doesn’t seem to be rooted in a particular brand of sunscreen, but in certain batches or “lots” produced, Valisure founder David Light says. He added that some batches and products from a single brand had high levels of benzene, where other batches and products from the same brand don’t have any. “It really does appear to be a batch-to-batch problem,” Light says. 

In response, Neutrogena announced that it is voluntarily recalling select spray sunscreens “out of an abundance of caution” on July 14. The recall affects the Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen, Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen, Invisible Daily defense aerosol sunscreen and Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen. If you have these products, Neutrogena recommends you dispose of them and contact the company for a refund.

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The findings are detailed in Valisure’s May 24 petition to the Food and Drug Administration to recall the product lots that contain dangerous amounts of benzene. Benzene, an industrial chemical normally found in crude oil and cigarette smoke that can also be used in manufacturing plastic and pesticides, is a known human carcinogen that can cause harm with long-term exposure, which is exposure for more than one year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Leukemia (cancer of blood-forming organs), anemia (a decrease in red blood cells), excessive bleeding and decreased ovary size have all been linked to long-term benzene exposure, according to information from the CDC and Department of Health and Human Services.

Valisure’s findings are concerning because there is no safe amount of benzene in any product, according to the FDA, which refers to it as a Class 1 Solvent. However, the agency does give conditional use approval for benzene of 2 parts per million if “use is unavoidable in order to produce a drug product with a significant therapeutic advance.” But benzene isn’t necessary for sunscreen production. Of the 294 batches of sun products tested, 26 had benzene levels lower than 2 ppm and 14 had levels containing 2 ppm or more — up to three times the FDA conditional amount, according to Dermatology Times. 

Sunscreen recall 2021: What you should know

“There is not a safe level of benzene that can exist in sunscreen products,” stated Dr. Christopher Bunick, associate professor of dermatology at Yale University in Valisure’s press release. “Even benzene at 0.1 ppm in a sunscreen could expose people to excessively high nanogram amounts of benzene.”

Valisure's discoveries show pollution during assembling, not an issue with the fixings required for sunscreen. 

Ditty Yepes/Getty 

Benzene is a known foreign substance in the oil business, Light says, and there are a ton of oil based commodities that advance into beautifying agents, moisturizers and creams. 

"For this situation it truly is by all accounts an assembling pollutant issue, not an inborn issue with sunscreen," Light says. "Individuals should in any case keep on utilizing sunscreen, I believe, is a significant message to get across." 

Altogether, 294 sun item parts were tried from 69 unique brands. The accompanying brands made sun items (showers, salves, gels, and so forth) that have parcel numbers Valisure is requesting that the FDA review: Neutrogena, Sun Bum, CVS Health, Fruit of the Earth, Raw Elements, SunBurnt, Goodsense, Banana Boat, TopCare Everyday and EltaMD. 

A portion of those items include: 

✔ Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Weightless Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70 and SPF 100+ 

✔ Neutrogena Beach Defense Oil-Free Body Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100 

✔ Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel 

✔ Banana Boat Kids Max Protect and Play Sunscreen C-Spray, SPF 100 

✔ EltaMD UV Aero Broad-Spectrum Fully-Body Sunscreen Spray, SPF 45 

✔ Sun Bum Cool Down Gel 

✔ Raw Elements Eco Formula Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 

✔ CVS Health After-sun Aloe Vera Soothing Spray 

✔ Goodsense Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 

Not all items made by these brands had discernible degrees of benzene. In the event that you own sun items delivered by one of the brands above, check tables 2 and 3 in Valisure's request to the FDA, just as the parcel number on the actual item. In the event that you choose to discard an item, follow the US Environmental Protection Agency's direction on arranging risky waste. Then, at that point make certain to get a sunscreen that is not on the rundown, in light of the fact that ensuring against sun harm is as yet significant. 

The proceeded with significance of sunscreen shouldn't be downplayed, and Valisure's idea that some sun care items have been defiled doesn't subvert sunscreen's job in securing you against burn from the sun, skin malignancy and early skin maturing. The FDA states it directs sunscreen as a medication on the grounds that the dynamic fixings in it make a medication guarantee — "to assist with forestalling burn from the sun or to diminish the dangers of skin malignancy and early skin maturing brought about by the sun." 

In a proclamation to CNET, an agent from the FDA said the organization "views appropriately any wellbeing concerns raised about items we manage, including sunscreen. While the organization assesses the submitted resident appeal, we will keep on checking the sunscreen commercial center and assembling endeavors to assist with guaranteeing the accessibility of safe sunscreens for US purchasers." 

"The office reminds makers, merchants, repackagers and shippers they are answerable for the nature of their items and urges producers to test their fixings to guarantee they meet particulars and are liberated from destructive defilement," the assertion read. 

Valisure is directing extra testing of other sun care items and is tolerating entries of sunscreens and sun care items from people in general. In case you're keen on having your sunscreen tried, adhere to the testing organization's guidelines to send yours in. 

"This is clearly a common issue for an assortment of makers and an assortment of brands," Light says, adding that the FDA will doubtlessly give a review for additional groups than Valisure mentioned, basically in light of the fact that Valisure just had such countless assets to run its underlying test. 

"The way that it's a significant issue is truly the thing we're attempting to highlight," he says. "I can basically promise you that the issue is a lot greater than simply those 40 parts that are presently out there."


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