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J&J Issues Sunscreen Recall After Cancer-Causing Chemical Found

Traces of benzene detected in five aerosol products
BY Mimi Nguyen Ly TIMEJuly 15, 2021 PRINT

Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday issued a voluntary recall of one Aveeno and four Neutrogena sunscreen sprays after internal testing found low levels of benzene, a chemical that can potentially cause cancer.

The five aerosol products are Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen, and four Neutrogena aerosol sunscreens: Beach Defense, Cool Dry Sport, Invisible Daily defense, and Ultra Sheer.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said consumers should stop using the named products and discard them. Customers can get a refund by calling J&J’s Consumer Care Center at 1-800-458-1673.

Benzene is not listed as an ingredient in any of the company’s sunscreens. The health care giant said it is now investigating how traces of benzene got into their products.

“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,” J&J said, adding that its recall was done “out of an abundance of caution.”

The Food and Drug Administration in a statement, announcing the recall, advised Americans to continue using other broad-spectrum sunscreens with SPF 15 or higher as part of their sun protection measures.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, benzene is a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. Benzene is a widely used chemical but can cause cancer with repeated exposure at high levels. It causes cells not to work properly and attacks the immune system.

Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly is a reporter based in Australia. She covers world news with a focus on U.S. news. Contact her at
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