Coppertone has issued a nationwide voluntary recall of specific lots of its aerosol sunscreen spray after identifying they contain benzene, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Sept. 30.
Benzene, a chemical that appears as a colorless or light yellow liquid, causes cells not to work properly and attack the immune system. It can lead to anemia in humans, while long-term exposure to high levels of benzene can cause leukemia and cancer of the blood-forming organs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), benzene is a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke and is a widely used but highly flammable chemical.
Exposure to benzene can occur through inhalation, orally, or through the skin and its effects vary, with symptoms ranging from dizziness and irregular heartbeat to convulsions and, at very high levels, death.
Coppertone, which is owned by Beiersdorf, identified twelve lots of five lots of its aerosol sunscreen spray products manufactured between January 10, 2021, and June 15, 2021, that contain the presence of benzene.
These include Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50 5.0 oz aerosol sunscreen spray, Coppertone Sport Mineral SPF 50 5.0 oz aerosol sunscreen spray, Coppertone Pure & Simple Kids SPF 50 5.0 oz aerosol sunscreen spray, Coppertone Pure & Simple SPF 50 5.0 oz aerosol sunscreen spray, and Coppertone Sport Spray SPF 50 1.6 oz aerosol sunscreen spray.
“Daily exposure to benzene at the levels detected in these affected Coppertone aerosol sunscreen spray products would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences based on generally accepted exposure modeling by numerous regulatory agencies,” the FDA said.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling certain lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen spray products. To date, Coppertone has not received any reports of adverse events related to this recall.”
The products in question were distributed nationally in the United States through various retailers and anyone who has experienced adverse reactions to the products can report it to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail, or via fax.
The recall comes two months after Johnson & Johnson announced it was recalling five of its sunscreen products after some samples were found to contain low levels of benzene.
Benzene is not listed as an ingredient in any of Johnson & Johnson’s sunscreens. The health care giant said it was investigating how traces of the chemical got into their products.