J&J recalls five sunscreens over cancer-causing chemical benzene

Sunscreens containing benzene

Johnson & Johnson is recalling five of its Neutrogena and Aveeno spray sunscreens after the company found low levels of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical, in some samples.

The company said customers should stop using the affected products, which were distributed through stores nationwide.

The only sunscreen products impacted are aerosol products, specifically:

  • NEUTROGENA® Beach Defense® aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Invisible Daily™ defense aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Ultra Sheer® aerosol sunscreen, and
  • AVEENO® Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen.

In May, independent pharmaceutical testing company Valisure announced that it had tested and detected high levels of benzene, a known human carcinogen, in several brands and batches of sunscreen, which are considered drug products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as in after-sun care products, which are generally regulated by FDA as cosmetics. Benzene is known to cause cancer in humans according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization, and other regulatory agencies.

“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,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement Wednesday. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling all lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen products.”

J&J noted that the recall is voluntary and said it has notified the FDA of the recall.

The company said it’s working to pull all lots of the five products from shelves across the country.

It added that customers can get a refund by calling J&J’s Consumer Care Center at 1-800-458-1673.