Johnson & Johnson recalls five sunscreens over cancer-causing chemical

Five of Johnson & Johnson’s aerosol sunscreen sprays are affected by the recall (Pictures: Neutrogena/Johnson & Johnson)

Johnson & Johnson has recalled five of its aerosol sunscreen products after finding a cancer-causing chemical in some of the samples. The New Jersey-based company, which also produced a one-dose coronavirus vaccine, announced its customers should immediately stop using the sunscreen sprays and throw them away.

The levels of benzene uncovered were low and not expected to cause health problems but the recall was done ‘out of an abundance of caution’, Johnson & Johnson said in a press release on Wednesday.

Benzene is not an ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s products but ‘was detected in some samples of the impacted aerosol sunscreen finished products’, the company said. It is investigating the reason for the contamination.

‘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 stated.

The recall applies to Aveeno Protect + Refresh and four Neutrogena sunscreen sprays including Beach Defense, CoolDry Sport, Invisible Daily Defense and UltraSheer.

Benzene is present in gasoline, crude oil and cigarette smoke and the air typically has low levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The chemical can enter the body orally, through the skin and through breathing, Johnson & Johnson said.

Johnson & Johnson has notified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the recall.

It represents the latest blow to the company, which is one of the biggest producers of consumer health products globally.

Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine was under a federally mandated 10-day pause in April after it was linked to a rare blood clot condition. And earlier this week, the FDA added a new warning label to the vaccine for the rare but serious risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which the immune system attacks the nerves.

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