Science

Dry shampoo recalled on potential cancer-causing ingredient

Unilever says it is recalling dry shampoo aerosol products sold nationwide because they may contain elevated levels of benzene, a human carcinogen. The recall is the latest in a half-dozen so far this year showing the cancer-causing chemical in products including deodorant, hand sanitizer and sunscreen.

The latest recall includes dry shampoo aerosol products from Dove, Nexus, Suave, TGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head) and Tresemé brands made before October 2021, the company said in a notice published Friday by the US Food and Drug Administration. A full list of affected products and UPC codes can be found here.

An internal investigation identified the propellant as the source, and Unilever worked with its propellant suppliers to address the issue.

People who have purchased affected aerosol dry shampoo products should stop using them and visit UnileverRecall.com for reimbursement instructions.

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Image of some of the products recalled by Unilever.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration


This is the second recall for Unilever this year, possibly involving a benzene-containing product. The group sells approximately 400 products worldwide, from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

Exposure to benzene can cause cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the blood marrow, as well as life-threatening blood disorders. Unilever said daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at levels found in the tests “would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences.”

commonly found chemical

One of the most commonly made chemicals in the US, benzene is present in gasoline and cigarette smoke, According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People are usually exposed by breathing the chemical in the air, but they can also absorb it into their bodies by touching petroleum products, or by eating or drinking contaminated food or beverages.

In late March, Unilever recalled two Suave 24-Hour Safety Aerosol Antiperspirants after an internal review found slightly elevated levels of benzene in some samples.

Four other companies have recalled products this year after benzene was found in samples, and there have been more than half a dozen recalls for the same reason last year,

In December, for example, Procter & Gamble Recalled Aerosol Dry Shampoo And conditioner spray products from six brands sold across the country after benzene was found in some of them.

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