Lab Asks FDA to Recall 78 Sunscreen Products
- An independent lab investigation found benzene in 78 sunscreen products
- Benzene is a known carcinogen that is sometimes used in the manufacturing of drugs, though the FDA recommends only using very low levels of the chemical
- Of the 78 products that were found to contain benzene, those with the highest levels were sunscreen sprays with high SPFs
The FDA has not yet recalled any of the products, but the lab’s findings reiterate how important it is to check out the ingredients when using skincare products. We know sunscreen is super important and is a major player when it comes to skin cancer prevention, but picking the right sunscreen is also crucial.Read More
Which Products Were on the List?
A full list of all the products benzene was detected in can be found in Valisure’s petition to the FDA. Of those products, 14 contained the chemical at levels higher than 2 ppm. Brands include Neutrogena, CVS Health and Fruit of the Earth.
Those products include both sunscreens and after-sun gels. However, the majority of the products that contained higher levels of benzene were sunscreen sprays with SPFs higher than 70. The product found to contain the most benzene was a Neutrogena weightless sunscreen spray with an SPF of 100+.
FDA Asked for Recall
300 sunscreen or after-sun products were tested, and 78 were found to contain benzene
What is Benzene, Anyway?
Benzene is a colorless or light yellow liquid that can form naturally or be produced by human activities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The chemical is sometimes released into the air through automobile emissions or the burning of coal or oil.
It is also used in the manufacturing of some plastics, rubbers, dyes, detergents, and drugs.
The chemical is a known carcinogen, meaning its link to cancer, particularly blood cancers, has been established. The FDA allows the chemical to be used in drug manufacturing only if the use is unavoidable and the drug product makes a “significant therapeutic advance.” If the chemical must be used, benzene levels should be limited to 2 ppm “unless otherwise justified,” according to FDA regulations.
How Do I Select the Right Sunscreen?
There are a lot of sun safety products to choose from when it comes to protecting your skin from harmful rays. In a previous conversation, New York City based dermatologist Dr. Snehal Amin told SurvivorNet that when it comes to choosing a product, the ingredients matter more than the brand name.
Dr. Snehal Amin provides recommendations for choosing the right sunscreen products.
“My recommendation is really focused on the ingredients rather than the brands,” Dr. Amin said. “If you like how the brand feels on your skin, if you like the purpose of the brand — for instance, sport vs. daily use or daytime use vs. short burst of activity use — I think those are more important factors than actual brands.”
Dr. Amin also pointed out that while sunscreen is important, it’s not the only way you should be protecting your skin from strong rays. If you’re planning a day out in the sun, accessories like a wide-brim hat or a surf shirt offer protection as well.