Certain brands of spray-on sunscreens made by Johnson & Johnson should be avoided by consumers. There have been low levels of benzene found in some samples, which has caused the company to issue a voluntary recall.
In order to prevent sun damage to the skin, sunscreens are used. Using sunscreen helps protect against sunburn and skin aging (wrinkles, sagging skin). Additionally, sunscreens contribute to reducing the risk of skin cancer, as well as sunburn-like reactions (sun sensitivity) from certain medications (such as tetracyclines, sulfa drugs, chlorpromazine, etc.).
Johnson & Johnson Warns Against Using Aveeno And Neutrogena Spray Sunscreens
This product should not contain benzene, since it is not an ingredient of sunscreen. Low levels of the substance were detected and were not expected to affect the health of consumers, but despite this, the company is recalling the products “for their own convenience.” The products, which were available at many retail outlets nationwide, were available through a variety of retail outlets. Rather than use these products, consumers should toss them out, the company advised.
The article further stresses the importance of using alternative sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, including melanoma, caused by excessive sun exposure. In order to find out how these products contain benzene, Johnson & Johnson has launched an investigation. It was not included with the recall of other products from the company, such as Neutrogena Wet Skin.
A test conducted by Valisure, an online pharmacy and lab, released results before Memorial Day showing that benzene, a known carcinogen, was present in batches of widely available sunscreen and aftersun products. FDA recalled batches of products from Neutrogena, Banana Boat, CVS Health, and other leading brands, following a petition from the company.
There are more than three-quarters of sprays in the catalog. The company recalled all the aerosol sprays, claiming that most of its products were aerosol sprays. Benzene was believed to have been found in the water as a result of contamination during manufacturing.
The petition from Valisure suggests the findings were caused by contamination in the manufacturing process since benzene is not a constituent of sunscreen. The benzene levels in sunscreen can add up to an extremely high amount of chronic exposure over a lifetime if benzene-contaminated sunscreen is found widely in the market, said Christopher G. Bunick. A physician and an associate professor of dermatology at Yale University, New Haven, he is an expert in skincare.
“The problem is not with sunscreen, it is with the manufacturing process,” said Adam Friedman, Ph.D., professor, and head of the department of dermatology at George Washington University. It’s important that we don’t blur those lines, he added.
Using these findings as a guiding principle can lead to incorrect conclusions. In an interview during the time, Friedman stated, “At the time, sunscreens were viewed as somewhat controversial; this only further aggravated that perception.”
The speaker noted that benzene is found in the automotive exhaust, second-hand smoke, and other places. A toxicology investigation has focused primarily on the effects from inhalation exposure, as well as from contaminated drinking water – not via topical exposure. There is no information about how well benzene penetrates through the skin, whether it is absorbed systemically, and how this then impacts health downstream, he explained.
In contrast, ultraviolet radiation is documented as a carcinogenic agent. Exposure to trace levels of benzene can prove to be more harmful than not using effective preventive measures such as sunscreen, he said.
There have been a number of sunscreen recalls, including:
- AVEENO® Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen
- NEUTROGENA® Invisible Daily™ defense aerosol sunscreen
- NEUTROGENA® Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen
- NEUTROGENA® Ultra Sheer® aerosol sunscreen
- NEUTROGENA® Beach Defense® aerosol sunscreen
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