Another summer is upon us and another brand of sunscreen has been recalled from store shelves over concerns that it is contaminated with high levels of benzene. Benzene is a known human carcinogen.
The recall was issued by Edgewell Personal Care Company; the company that makes Banana Boat products. In a statement released to the FDA’s website, Edgewell noted that “while benzene is not an ingredient in any Banana Boat products, [a] review showed that unexpected levels of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can.” Consumers have been advised to discard any remaining product from the affected lots and stop using the product immediately. Adverse reactions should be discussed with the consumer’s health care provider and reported via the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.
While known to cause cancer in humans, benzene is also known to cause dizziness, heartbeat abnormalities, and convulsions.
Last summer was plagued by a series of sunscreen recalls triggered by the presence of benzene in sunscreens from sources that ranged from store brands through those normally associated with higher levels of quality like Neutrogena and Aveeno. The discoveries were due largely to the work of Valisure; an online pharmacy that internally tests everything it sells. After finding benzene in over 75 brands of sunscreens and other sun care products, the company went on the offensive and challenged the FDA to take action beyond its normal response of endless reviews and inaction. Valisure’s 2021 review of suncare products found samples that “contained up to three times the conditionally restricted FDA concentration limit of two parts per million” of benzene.
Valisure went on to publicly post its findings and its petition to the FDA to take action on those findings to Google Drive.