By Jennifer Ahlstrom | Posted - Aug 5th, 2021





Johnson & Johnson Recalls Aerosol Sunscreen Brands Due to Discovered Benzene

Johnson & Johnson has voluntarily recalled the following five aerosol sunscreen products when they were found to contain low levels of benzene. Benzene is an ingredient known to cause multiple myeloma and other cancers.

  • 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

Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen, a substance that could potentially cause cancer depending on the level and extent of exposure. According to the American Cancer Society, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies benzene as “carcinogenic to humans,” based on sufficient evidence that benzene causes acute myeloid leukemia (AML). IARC also notes that benzene exposure has been linked with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Benzene is ubiquitous in the environment. Humans around the world have daily exposures indoors and outdoors from multiple sources. Benzene can be absorbed, to varying degrees, by inhalation, through the skin, and orally. According to the company, "Based on exposure modeling and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) framework, 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, the company is recalling all lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen products.

Benzene was not an ingredient in any of the sunscreen products, but was detected in some samples of the aerosol sunscreen finished products. The company is investigating the cause of the issue. 

Sunscreen use is still suggested as excessive sun exposure can cause melanoma, a skin cancer. 

For refunds, contact Johnson & Johnson at 1-800-458-1673. Contact your doctor if you have any questions, concerns or have experienced problems using these products. The company is notifying its distributors and retailers and is arranging for returns on all recalled product. 

Adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product may be reported to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.

This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Jennifer Ahlstrom
About the Author

Jennifer Ahlstrom - Jenny A - Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical trials. Founder of Myeloma Crowd, Myeloma Crowd Radio, HealthTree and the CrowdCare Foundation.


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