On June 14, 2021, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI) issued a voluntary recall of five NEUTROGENA® and AVEENO® aerosol consumer sunscreen product lines. This is because internal testing revealed low levels of benzene in some of the product samples, therefore, the FDA advises consumers to stop using the aerosol sunscreen products below:
This voluntary recall followed a Valisure petition filed on May 24, 2021. Valisure’s mission is to “independently check the chemical composition of medication before they reach consumers.” The company works with healthcare and pharma authorities to “deliver enhanced quality assurance” to patients and networks, which include consumers.
27% of sunscreen samples tested by Valisure contained detectable Benzene ad some batches had up to 3 times the conditionally restricted FDA concentration limit of 2 parts per million.
Benzene is a human carcinogen that can potentially cause cancer depending on the amount and duration of exposure. It is classified as a Class 1 solvent that “should not be employed in the manufacture of drug substances, excipients, and drug products because of their unacceptable toxicity…However, if their use is unavoidable in order to produce a drug product with a significant therapeutic advance, then their levels should be restricted.” As we mentioned above, benzene is restricted to 2 ppm, but some samples tested by Valisure detected far higher amounts.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says benzene exposure can occur through inhalation, skin absorption, ingestion, skin and/or eye contact, and the FDA has found significant amounts of ingredients in the recalled sunscreen products can absorb through the skin and get into the blood.
Although the daily exposure to benzene through these aerosol sunscreen products isn’t expected to cause bad health effects, the FDA is recalling the five product lines listed above out of caution.
The FDA advises consumers who have purchased and/or used the recalled spray sunscreens listed above to discard these items. Consumers are also advised to contact their healthcare provider to address questions, concerns, or problems resulting from these aerosol sunscreen products. You can contact the JJCI Consumer Care Center if you have further questions, and if you would like a refund, you can call 1-800-458-1673. If you’ve experienced adverse reactions or quality problems with these recalled sunscreens, you may report them to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program like so:
However, we strongly encourage you to consult with our lawyer if you’ve experienced any adverse reactions from using these aerosol sunscreens or if you have questions about pursuing a claim. Our team at Kwartler Manus, LLC has 40 years of collective experience helping people in your shoes get back up on their feet, having recovered millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. Allow us to help you move forward with peace of mind.