Benzene in Sunscreen

Edgewell Personal Care just voluntarily recalled an additional lot code of Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 (20301CF).  

UPC DESCRIPTION Lot Code Expiration Size
0-79656-04041-8 Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Spray SPF 30 20016AF December 2022 6 oz
0-79656-04041-8 Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Spray SPF 30 20084BF February 2023 6 oz
0-79656-04041-8 Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Spray SPF 30 21139AF April 2024 6 oz
0-79656-04041-8 Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Spray SPF 30 20301CF September 2023 6 oz


If you use sunscreen, you may have been applying benzene, a carcinogen, to your skin for the last three years. 

In July 2021 Johnson & Johnson recalled specific Neutrogena and Aveeno Aerosol Sunscreen products because they contained benzene (A).

In July 2022 Edgewell Personal Care Company voluntarily recalled batches of their Banana Boat Hair and Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 because they, too, contained benzene. As Edgewell Personal Care Company states, “Exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin and it potentially can result in cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow and blood disorders which can be life threatening.” (B) Learn more about the updated recall here.

These product recalls are a reminder that when it comes to cosmetics, specifically, skincare, sunscreen, and makeup... 

  1. Anyone can put almost anything in a jar and legally sell it as a cosmetic, and they frequently do (C). Unlike drugs, cosmetics do not have to go through rigorous testing and clinical trials to be FDA-approved before being sold to you.
  2. Unlike drugs, the FDA isn’t legally responsible for making sure your cosmetics are safe (C). Cosmetics manufacturers are solely legally responsible for allegedly ensuring the safety and proper labeling of their own cosmetics.
  3. Cosmetics manufacturers aren’t always qualified and do not always ensure the safety of their products before they get onto your skin and then into your body.
  4. Manufacturers can legally sell drugs as cosmeticsbecause the FDA defines drugs and cosmetics based on their intended, rather than their actual, effects on your body. Read more here.
  5. Most cosmetics are formulated to superficially and temporarily address a symptom, not the root cause. You must keep using the product to get relief. The cycle is addictive and destructive, a never-ending quest to look young and flawless, no matter what it takes, reinforced by the beauty industry and society at large. Read more here.
  6. The FDA cannot order a recall of a hazardous cosmetic, it can only request that the manufacturer recall the cosmetic and notify the public. Meanwhile, the hazardous cosmetic can continue to be legally sold (D). Read more here.

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