Johnson & Johnson recalls sunscreen products due to benzene traces

The health care company recalls popular Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen products.



Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced Wednesday it is recalling five of its sunscreen products after some samples were found to contain low levels of Benzene, a chemical that can cause cancer with repeated exposure.

The affected products, packaged in aerosol cans, are:

  • Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena CoolDry Sport aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena UltraSheer aerosol sunscreen

J&J released a statement regarding the sunscreen recall, saying: “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. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling all lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen products.”

aveeno neutrogena sunscreen recall johnson

“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,” according to J&J. The health care giant is investigating how traces of the chemical entered the products.

What is Benzene?

Benzene is a human carcinogen that could potentially cause cancer depending on the level of sun exposure. The chemical’s effects vary by whether a person accidentally inhales or ingests it or gets it on skin and clothing. Its symptoms range from dizziness and irregular heartbeat to convulsions, but the highest levels of exposure can also lead to death.

“We are working to remove these products from the market and will provide consumers with a refund,” the company said.

In May, product testing company Valisure tested over 200 batches of 69 sunscreen products. The company’s founder and CEO David Light said J&J’s Neutrogena products were of particular concern.

“All five of them were in the highest table for benzene contamination,” he said.

At the time, the company petitioned the FDA to recall sunscreen products, which also included brands of CVS Health and Banana Boat sunscreens. Researchers believe benzene gets into sunscreen during the manufacturing process or somewhere in the supply chain.

“What is known to happen with consistent exposure to benzene over time, is a higher risk of cancer, specifically leukemia,” said Light.

“This is not an inherent problem of sunscreen. Benzene is not an ingredient. There are ingredients such as avobenzone and oxybenzone that may sound similar but they’re completely different,” said Light.

Valisure is testing the sunscreen for consumers free of charge. J&J is urging customers to toss out all 5 sunscreens as soon as possible, and has notified the FDA of the recall. Retailers are expected to remove sunscreens from store shelves at the earliest.

Anna Domanska
Anna Domanska is an Industry Leaders Magazine author possessing wide-range of knowledge for Business News. She is an avid reader and writer of Business and CEO Magazines and a rigorous follower of Business Leaders.

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