Specific Products included in Voluntary P&G Aerosol Spray Antiperspirant Recall (Photo: Business Wire)
Benzene, a known cancer-causing chemical, was found in over half of 108 batches of antiperspirant and deodorant body sprays from 30 different brands, according to a citizen’s petition filed this month with the US Food and Drug Administration.
Benzene should not be used in the manufacture of drug substances or products because it is a class one solvent with “unacceptable toxicity,” according to the FDA.
However, the FDA did allow a “temporary” use of benzene in liquid hand sanitizers during the pandemic, setting the upper limit to 2 parts per million.
Voluntary recall of Old Spice and Secret body sprays
The US Environmental Protection Agency has set a much lower limit – 5 parts per billion (ppb) – for exposure to benzene in drinking water. The agency has also set a “goal of 0 ppb for benzene in drinking water and in water such as rivers and lakes because benzene can cause leukemia.”
Last week, “in an abundance of caution,” manufacturer Procter & Gamble voluntarily pulled 17 different types of Old Spice and Secret antiperspirant off the shelves, according to a press release.
A number of other brands have not yet been recalled, including batches of Tag, Sure, Equate, Suave, Right Guard and Brut that had levels of benzene at or above 2 parts per million, said David Light, CEO and founder of Valisure, the independent lab that ran the tests and filed the petition.
Additional batches of antiperspirants and deodorants, which Valisure said tested at levels up to 2 parts per million, include products made by Summer’s Eve, Right Guard, Power Stick, Soft & Dri and Victoria’s Secret. To date, CNN was not able to verify that any of these products except Old Spice and Secret have been recalled following Valisure’s early November request to that effect to the FDA.
CNN reached out to all of these companies for response. The Village Company, which makes Soft&Dri, declined to provide a comment. Unilever, which makes Suave, told CNN in an email: “Unilever takes all safety concerns seriously, and we are conducting a robust investigation into the Valisure petition’s assertions about two Suave antiperspirant aerosols.”
CNN did not receive a response from the rest of the brands before publication, but the Personal Care Products Council, an industry association that speaks for 600 consumer product companies, put out this statement.
“Benzene is not an intentionally added ingredient in body spray products; however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as product manufacturers, are aware that it may be present in food and drug products at very low levels,” PCPC wrote.
“PCPC and its member companies are firmly committed to ensuring consumers have access to cosmetics and personal care products with ingredients that have been thoroughly tested for safety and follow the requirements of the law,” the statement said. “Companies and individuals have a legal responsibility to ensure their products and ingredients are safe for the intended use.”
High levels of benzene detected
Benzene is created by natural and man-made processes. The chemical, which can trick the body’s cells into not working properly, is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s also used to manufacture a variety of “plastics, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides,” according to the American Cancer Society.
Exposure can be dangerous, by increasing the “risk of developing leukemia and other blood disorders,” the National Cancer Institute said.
A visual of the aerosol sprays included in voluntary antiperspirant Recall.
Exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause death, and if “you spill benzene on your skin, it may cause redness and sores,” according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). “Benzene in your eyes may cause general irritation and damage to your cornea.”
In its recall, P&G said it has had no reports of adverse reactions, adding that “daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in our testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences.”
Tests by Valisure, however, found concerning levels of benzene in some batches of P&G products. The most highly contaminated – two lots of an Old Spice antiperspirant called Pure Sport (Lots 11671458SQ and 11671458SB; UPC 012044001912) – contained 17.7 and 17.4 average parts per million of benzene, said Valisure CEO David Light.
“That’s nearly nine times the upper limit of 2 parts per million the FDA has set for emergency use,” Light said.
Secret Powder Fresh, 24 HR Aerosol (Lots 11721458SG and 11701458SH; UPC 037000711087) had about 16 average parts per million, tests showed.
“With aerosols, you might be using it every day, probably in a closed space like a bathroom,” Light said.
The company tested the product with the highest levels of benzene (Old Spice Pure Sport with 17.7 ppm) in a closed bathroom, spraying once under each arm as a consumer would. By doing so, you “could bring the entire bathroom air to 15 times the limit for what the EPA has said is an increased risk for leukemia,” Light said.
How does the product become contaminated?
In overall testing, levels of benzene varied greatly from batch to batch, even within a single brand, Valisure noted, while initial analysis of at least one sample of 49 lots of body sprays from 19 different brands showed no benzene at all.
In total, “24 lots of body spray products from 8 different brands contained between 2.24 – 17.7 ppm of benzene; 14 lots from 8 brands contained detectable benzene between 0.20 – 1.89 ppm; and 21 lots from 8 brands contained detectable benzene at < 0.1 ppm," Valisure said in a press release.
None of the products have benzene as an ingredient, experts say, so the only way the chemical could have been introduced is via an error in the manufacturing process – or by the way the chemical is delivered to the body.
Valisure said one possibility is that benzene could come from ingredients such as hydrofluorocarbon 152a, butane, isobutane, propane and alcohol used to propel sprays onto the skin.
“Our investigation showed that traces of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can,” said Kate DiCarlo, senior director of communications for the Personal Care Portfolio of P&G.
“Due to the highly specialized nature of aerosol products, we use a manufacturing partner to produce these products,” Dicarlo continued. “That manufacturing partner identified an issue with their propellant supply and is implementing additional measures to address the issue identified in the investigation.
“Once the recall is complete, we are preparing to ship new product that meets our quality standards to re-stock shelves.”
Other products with benzene
The burning heat of summer has us all reaching for sunscreens. But before you slather that product on your skin, first check to see if it is part of a voluntary recall by sunscreen brands Neutrogena and Aveeno.
“I think there’s good evidence that propellants are a significant source of this contamination but there’s a variety of potential sources in the raw materials used to create the products as well,” Light said.
“Impurities may be present in the manufacturing environment due to the use of certain chemicals, equipment or containers. We need more testing,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit environmental and consumer health advocacy group.
“We need independent analysis as part of the overall supply chain. It’s really critically important to find these problems before they get on the shelves,” Light added.
Benzene has been found in other consumer products as well. The FDA warmed consumers not to use certain hand sanitizers early in the pandemic due to high levels of the solvent, and this summer after Valisure’s lab found alarming levels of benzene and filed a petition with the FDA.
“Exposure to benzene increases the risk of developing leukemia and other blood disorders,” according to the National Cancer Institute.
“There is not a safe level of benzene that can exist in sunscreen products,” said Dr. Christopher Bunick, associate professor of dermatology at Yale University, in Valisure’s press release. “Even benzene at 0.1 ppm (parts per million) in a sunscreen could expose people to excessively high nanogram amounts of benzene.”
The vast majority of tested sunscreens, however, were free of benzene, and experts stress the importance of sunscreen use to protect skin from the aging and cancerous effects of the sun.
The sunscreens tested by Valisure were only a tiny sample of the more than 11,000 registered sun care products on the market.
In response to Valisure’s petition on sunscreens, the FDA told CNN that it “evaluates and assesses the information provided in citizen petitions of this type and, generally, initiates an independent testing and verification process.”
In response to the new petition on antiperspirants and deodorants, the FDA said:
“The FDA is committed to helping ensure that the products we regulate are safe for use. We continually gain new knowledge which allows us to identify and quickly address previously unknown risks. When we identify drug quality lapses that pose potential risks for patients, we make every effort to understand the issues and provide our best recommendation to the public as quickly and accurately as possible. We will continue to investigate and work to ensure these types of impurities do not exceed acceptable limits.”
Antiperspirant recall: What the finding of a cancer-causing chemical means for you | CNN? ›
Specific UPC and sizes of Suave 24-Hour Protection Fresh Antiperspirant and Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Powder were recalled on March 30, 2022. The recall affects all of the products above with expiration dates through September 2023. They were sold at retail stores nationwide and online.What deodorants are recalled due to cancer-causing chemicals? ›
Specific UPC and sizes of Suave 24-Hour Protection Fresh Antiperspirant and Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Powder were recalled on March 30, 2022. The recall affects all of the products above with expiration dates through September 2023. They were sold at retail stores nationwide and online.What antiperspirant has cancer recall? ›
Unilever United States is recalling two Suave aerosol antiperspirants due to elevated levels of a cancer-causing chemicals, the Food & Drug Administration reported. According to the FDA, an internal review showed “slightly elevated” levels of benzene, a human carcinogen, in some product samples.What is the cancer-causing agent in Secret deodorant? ›
Elevated levels of benzene detected in some sprays. A variety of Old Spice and Secret brand aerosol sprays were voluntarily recalled after the manufacturer, Procter & Gamble, found the presence of a cancer-causing chemical, benzene, in some of its products.Which known cancer-causing chemical was found by the FDA in batches of antiperspirant and deodorant body sprays from 30 different brands? ›
Procter & Gamble. P&G issues voluntary recall of specific Old Spice and Secret aerosol spray antiperspirants and Old Spice Below Deck aerosol spray products due to detection of benzene. Food and Drug Administration.What is the safest deodorant to use? ›
- Schmidt's Natural Deodorant Stick. ...
- Soapwalla Original Deodorant Cream. ...
- Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream. ...
- Follain Charcoal Deodorant. ...
- From Molly With Love Probiotic Deodorant. ...
- Ursa Major No B.S. ...
- Lovefresh Super Strength Deodorant. ...
- Type: A The Minimalist Deodorant.
- Axe - Dry Spray, Non-Stop Hustle, Don't Sweat It - Smell Fresh, 48 H Dry.
- Axe - Phoenix, Body Spray.
- Axe - Apollo.
- Axe - Signature, Night, 48 Anti Marks Protection.
- Axe - Dry Spray, On Your Grind, Don't Sweat It - Smell Fresh, 48 H Dry.
Important: Both antiperspirants and deodorants are considered safe products — though antiperspirants may have health risks for people with advanced kidney disease. People with kidney function of less than 30% may not be able to clear the aluminum in antiperspirants out of their system efficiently.What antiperspirants have benzene? ›
- Old Spice.
- Right Guard.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an Unilever dry shampoo recall on October 21, instructing consumers to stop using certain Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI and TRESemmé dry shampoo products, which contain elevated levels of benzene contamination from the propellant used by the manufacturer.
Why was Secret deodorant discontinued? ›
We decided to voluntarily recall these products to the consumer level due to the presence of benzene detected in some products. Daily exposure to the level of benzene detected would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences and we are conducting this recall out of an abundance of caution.What ingredients should you avoid when buying deodorant? ›
- Aluminum compounds and salt. Aluminum compounds are commonly found in pharmaceutical and beauty products. ...
- Talc. This common ingredient found in baby powder is known for its ability to resist moisture and absorb oils. ...
- Parabens. ...
- Propylene Glycol. ...
- Triclosan. ...
Procter and Gamble is recalling 18 Old Spice and Secret products because of a cancer-causing chemical. The aerosol antiperspirants were sold in stores nationwide and online. The FDA said the products may have benzene, which is known to lead to blood cancers and other blood disorders.What is the most harmful ingredient in deodorant? ›
If used everyday, this chemical can cause damage to your central nervous system, heart and liver. It is also shown to irritate skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. Propylene glycol can be harmful at as small a percentage as 2%, yet deodorants generally have a high dose of 50% propylene glycol.
Benzene-induced decreases in blood cells could be observed within a few months after exposure was initiated. However, there is a lag time of perhaps years between initial benzene exposure and the development of leukemia.Why is Dove deodorant bad for you? ›
Dove's deodorants and antiperspirants are not safe or non toxic. Moreover, some of their products contain aluminum which is a big no-no. And in fact, all of them contain fragrances (even the ones labelled as “fragrance free”). Fragrances often contain ingredients that are hormone disruptors.Why is aluminum free deodorant better? ›
Antiperspirants use aluminum salts to block your apocrine sweat glands from stimulating underarm sweat. Aluminum free deodorants, as these are focused on blocking odor versus blocking sweat, contain antibacterial ingredients to kill those odor-causing bacteria that live off your sweat protein.What's healthier than deodorant? ›
- Witch hazel. ...
- Baking soda or cornstarch. ...
- Lemon juice. ...
- Rubbing alcohol. ...
- Apple cider vinegar. ...
- Coconut oil. ...
- Baking soda & coconut oil. ...
- Crystal deodorant.
Is there aluminum free antiperspirant? Well, technically no. There aren't any aluminum free antiperspirants based on the FDA's categorization and how traditional antiperspirants work. Traditional antiperspirants use a form of aluminum to block the sweat glands.What deodorants have been recalled? ›
- Brut Classic Antiperspirant Aerosol, 4oz, UPC code 00827755070085.
- Brut Classic Antiperspirant Aerosol, 6oz, UPC code 00827755070108.
- Brut Classic Deodorant Aerosol, 154g, UPC code 00827755070177.
- Brut Classic Deodorant Aerosol, 10oz, UPC code 00827755070047.
What is the lawsuit against Dove spray deodorant? ›
Dry Shampoo Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Benzene in Dove, Suave, TRESemmé and Other Aerosol Products. Lawsuit alleges Unilever waited to recall dry shampoo contaminated with benzene in the aerosol spray products, in order to maximize profits once benzene was detected.What brands of deodorant have benzene? ›
Which antiperspirant and deodorant sprays were found to contain benzene? A handful of antiperspirant and deodorant sprays from popular brands, including Old Spice, Secret, Suave, Sure, Tag, and Equate, were found to have high amounts of benzene (read: more than 2 parts per million), according to Valisure's report.How do you get rid of armpit odor without deodorant permanently? ›
- Apply Witch Hazel to Your Armpits with a Cotton Ball after Showering. ...
- Dab Apple Cider Vinegar on Your Underarms Twice a Day. ...
- Rub a Mixture of Lemon Juice and Water on Your Pits Once a Day. ...
- Wear Homemade or Natural Deodorant. ...
- Cruciferous Vegetables. ...
- Red Meat. ...
Gonzalez says “a form of powder or starch is effective at absorbing moisture and killing bacteria that cause body odor.” Our experts say that natural deodorants with arrowroot powder and baking soda can have this effect. “Baking soda absorbs moisture, so it inherently makes you feel dryer,” says dermatologist Dr.Is there benzene in Dove soap? ›
Benzene is a known contaminant of petroleum products.
New Delhi: Unilever has recalled popular brands of aerosol dry shampoo, including Dove, after discovering they were contaminated with a chemical called benzene that can cause cancer.
Using antiperspirant to stop sweating shouldn't affect your body's ability to rid itself of toxins.” In general, deodorants and antiperspirants are safe products for most people in good health to use.What products contain the most benzene? ›
The benzene in indoor air comes from products that contain benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents. The air around hazardous waste sites or gas stations can contain higher levels of benzene than in other areas.What is the secret deodorant lawsuit? ›
P&G (NYSE: PG) will pay up to $8 million in the form of cash or vouchers to consumers who purchased certain Secret and Old Spice aerosol deodorant products that were recalled in 2021 due to the presence of the chemical benzene.Which Dove product has benzene? ›
New Delhi: Global FMCG giant Unilever Plc has recalled some popular brands, including Dove, of its aerosol dry shampoo, after it was discovered that they had benzene-related contamination, according to media reports. Benzene can cause cancer.Do all dry shampoos have benzene? ›
Recently, an independent laboratory conducted a series of tests on several different dry shampoos, finding that 70% of the tested products contain benzene. Benzene is recognized as a human carcinogen that can cause humans to develop leukemia or other cancers of the blood.
What is the oldest deodorant brand? ›
In 1888, the first modern commercial deodorant, Mum, was developed and patented by a U.S. inventor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Edna Murphey. The small company was bought by Bristol-Myers in 1931 and in the late 1940s, Helen Barnett Diserens developed an underarm applicator based on the newly invented ball-point pen.What deodorant was pulled from the shelves? ›
Secret and Old Spice Deodorants Are Pulled from Shelves Due to Cancer-Linked Chemical. Officials at Procter & Gamble Co. are recalling more than 15 different deodorant and aerosol sprays manufactured under its Old Spice and Secret brands.What products are recalled with benzene? ›
The affected aerosol products include some of the world's biggest brand names, including certain lots of Neutrogena, Aveeno, Banana Boat and Coppertone sunscreens; Sure, Brut, Suave, Secret and Old Spice deodorants; Dove, Nexxus, Suave, Tresemmé and Bed Head dry shampoos; and Tinactin and Odor Eaters foot sprays.Is aluminum in deodorant banned in Europe? ›
Under European law, aluminium can be used in antiperspirants at a concentration of 6.25% and 10.6% in spray and non-spray products.What ingredients should women's deodorant avoid? ›
Parabens are synthetic compounds that are used to control bacteria, fungus and other unwanted microbes in a range of products like toothpastes, shampoos and deodorants. However, parabens can be absorbed by the skin and can mimic the effects of oestrogen in the body, affecting the endocrine system.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (UFI)—Warning that millions of consumers could be exposed to an unnecessary risk, the Food and Drug Administration issued a final order today banning the use of zirconium in aerosol deodorant sprays.Why does aluminum free deodorant not work? ›
The real reason none of the natural deodorants you have tried have worked for you is simply because you didn't give it time. When switching to natural deodorant, your body – and more specifically your underarms – will go through a natural transition period commonly known as an armpit detox.What are the side effects of antiperspirant? ›
This is the most common antiperspirant side effect. If you experience irritation, redness or itching from antiperspirant, stay away from formulas with artificial ingredients and dyes! Words like “Yellow Number 1” and “Fragrance” aren't a good sign.
Unilever said the Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant product line was discontinued in October 2021 "for business reasons" and the "affected products were in limited distribution at U.S. retail stores and online."What carcinogen is found in deodorant sprays? ›
Benzene, a Carcinogen, in Deodorants: Here's What You Need To Know.
Is baking soda bad in deodorant? ›
Baking soda creates an alkaline environment in your pits that inhibits bacteria. However, there is a downside. Baking soda can be harsh on the skin. It's fairly common to develop a rash when using deodorants that rely on baking soda.What are any two harmful effects of deodorant? ›
Harmful effects of deodorant are: It contains aluminum – zirconium compounds which are the most harmful chemicals in the deodorant. They can result in the development of disorders like headache, asthma, respiratory disorders, heart disease without our knowledge.What kind of cancer does benzene cause? ›
IARC classifies benzene as “carcinogenic to humans,” based on sufficient evidence that it causes acute myeloid leukemia (AML). IARC also notes that benzene exposure has been linked with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.What organs are affected by benzene? ›
After inhalation or absorption, benzene targets organs viz. liver, kidney, lung, heart and brain etc. It is metabolized mainly in the liver by cytochrome P450 multifunctional oxygenase system.How likely is it to get cancer from benzene? ›
Studies show benzene exposure can increase the risk of certain cancers by as much as 40%. Research suggests even low-level benzene exposure can greatly increase the risk of leukemia. People who work in industries that use benzene are at the most risk of exposure to the highest levels of the chemical.What is the safest antiperspirant to use? ›
- Schmidt's Natural Deodorant Stick.
- Soapwalla Original Deodorant Cream.
- Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream.
- Follain Charcoal Deodorant.
- From Molly With Love Probiotic Deodorant.
- Ursa Major No B.S. Deodorant.
- Lovefresh Super Strength Deodorant.
- Type: A The Minimalist Deodorant.
Aluminum-free deodorant by definition doesn't contain aluminum, so it won't leave behind unsightly stains. But some aluminum-free deodorants will still leave behind white marks on your clothes. To avoid them, look for deodorants without ingredients that tend to cake under your arm like talc and baking soda.What deodorant is being recalled? ›
Company Announcement. March 30, 2022 - Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey– Unilever United States is voluntarily recalling two Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirants to the consumer level. An internal review showed slightly elevated levels of benzene in some product samples.What popular deodorant was recalled? ›
The recall includes all Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Powder and Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Fresh products with an expiration date through September 2023. The FDA also explains that “no other Unilever or Suave products are in the scope of this recall.”Which Secret deodorants have been recalled? ›
|037000729921||Secret Fresh Collection Inv Spry Light Essentials 12/3.8oz|
|037000798842||Secret Fresh Collection Inv Spray Rose 12/3.8oz|
|037000747642||Secret Outlast Inv Spray Completely Clean 12/3.8oz|
|037000747727||Secret Outlast Inv Spray Protecting Powder 12/3.8oz|
Which deodorants have benzene? ›
- Old Spice.
- Right Guard.
Unilever issued a recall for certain lot codes of its Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head) as well as TRESemmé dry shampoo aerosol products after an internal investigation revealed that the "potentially elevated" chemical levels came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can, according ...What deodorant is getting sued? ›
Old Spice Facing $5 Million Dollar Lawsuit After Deodorants Cause Extreme Burns. After suffering severe chemical burns and painful rashes from using Old Spice deodorant, Plaintiffs last week filed a class-action lawsuit seeking over $5 million in damages from Proctor & Gamble, the makers of Old Spice products.Is there a recall on Dove soap? ›
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 18, 2022 - Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey – Unilever United States today issued a voluntary product recall to the consumer level of select lot codes of dry shampoo aerosol products produced prior to October 2021 from Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head), and TRESemmé due to ...Is there a lawsuit against Secret deodorant? ›
P&G (NYSE: PG) will pay up to $8 million in the form of cash or vouchers to consumers who purchased certain Secret and Old Spice aerosol deodorant products that were recalled in 2021 due to the presence of the chemical benzene.Is sure deodorant safe now? ›
Recent studies have shown that these deodorants are not as safe as we thought. Some of them may even be harmful to our health. So if you're looking for a safer alternative, consider using natural Aluminum-free deodorants instead.Does Dove deodorant have benzene in it? ›
Most recently, benzene was discovered in antiperspirant sprays, including Old Spice, Secret, Dove, Axe, and multiple other brands, according to Valisure, an independent analytical laboratory.What Dove products contain benzene? ›
Unilever recalls its Dove and other aerosol dry shampoos in the US after discovering a harmful chemical benzene in their content. Unilever had to recall its Dove and Tresemme aerosol dry shampoo in the US after learning that the products were tainted with benzene, a substance that can lead to cancer.