Affected Products in the 2021 Sunscreen Recall

Photo Credit: Maui Now

This is not something you want to see right in the middle of summer.  A sunscreen recall!  Go check your pantries, cabinets, beach bags and everywhere else you store sunscreen to see if you have any of the recalled products!

Johnson & Johnson is issuing a voluntary recall for five Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen lines in the United States after it said it discovered low levels of benzene in the products.  “Exposure to benzene increases the risk of developing leukemia and other blood disorders,” according to the National Cancer Institute.

It’s important to note that this is a VOLUNTARY recall and Johnson & Johnson is pulling their affected products.  CVS Health also stopped selling two of its after-sun care products due to similar findings.  But other benzene-containing products remain on the shelves made by other companies.

Which sunscreens were recalled?

These four Neutrogena spray sunscreens and one Aveeno spray were voluntarily recalled this week by parent company Johnson & Johnson “out of an abundance of caution”:

  • Neutrogena® Beach Defense® aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Cool Dry Sport aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Invisible Daily™ defense aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Ultra Sheer® aerosol
  • Aveeno® Protect + Refresh aerosol

Of all the products tested, these are the ones that also contain benzene but are still on the shelf as their companies have not pulled them and there is not yet and FDA recall that will force them off the shelf:

Eco Formula Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
Advanced After-Sun Gel by Sun Burst
Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 by SunBurnt
Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 by Goodsense
Ultimate Sheer Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70 by TopCare Everyday
UV Aero Broad-Spectrum Full-Body Sunscreen Spray, SPF 45 by EltaMD
Banana Boat Kids Max Protect & Play Sunscreen C-Spray SPF 100
Banana Boat UltraMist Deep Tanning Dry Oil Continuous Clear Spray SPF 4
Banana Boat Ultra Sport Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 100

What is benzene?

Benzene is a natural component of crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke and ranks in the top 20 chemicals used for production of “lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides,” as well as “plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No one knows for sure how the toxin ended up in sun care products. Benzene was not an ingredient in any of the sunscreens, so experts suspect contamination had to have occurred during the manufacturing process.

And here’s the scary part:  Because the contamination was sporadic and likely occurred accidentally, there is no way for consumers to look at a label and choose a product without benzene, Faber said.

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