Unilever Recalls Dove And Other Aerosol Dry Shampoos Over Cancer Risk

Popular brands of aerosol dry shampoo, including Dove, was recalled by Unilever Plc, after discovering that these products were contaminated with a chemical called benzene that can cause cancer, reported by news agency Bloomberg. Brands such as Nexxus, Suave, Tresemmé, and Tigi were also recalled, according to a notice posted on the Food and Drug Administration’s website on Friday.

This recall by Unilever pertains to products made prior to October 2021. The Recalls were set off by findings of benzene in such products by an analytical lab called Valisure, based in New Haven, Connecticut, the report said.

A number of aerosol sunscreens have been pulled of shelves in the past year and a half, including Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena, Edgewell Personal Care Co.’s Banana Boat and Beiersdorf AG’s Coppertone along with spray-on antiperspirants like Procter & Gamble Co.’s Secret and Old Spice and Unilever’s Suave, Bloomberg report stated.

This isn’t the first time spray-on dry shampoo has been identified as a problem. P&G tested its whole portfolio of aerosol products following Valisure’s findings. The company then recalled its Pantene and Herbal Essences dry shampoos in December, citing benzene contamination.

“Given what we’ve seen, it unfortunately makes sense that other consumer-product categories, like aerosol dry shampoos, could be heavily affected by benzene contamination and we are actively investigating this area,” David Light, Valisure Chief Executive Officer told Bloomberg.

The problem with aerosols has largely appeared to be from the propellants used to spray the personal-care products from the cans. Unilever said this was the case with its dry shampoo recall. According to Bloomberg, the company did not release the amount of benzene found in the products, though said it was recalling them out of an abundance of caution.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that “daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences.” But the agency had also added that exposure to benzene can result in leukemia and other blood cancers.

Dry Shampoos and Spray-on personal-care products often contain propellants like propane and butane. These are the petroleum distillates made by refining crude oil. Benzene is a known contaminant of petroleum products. Propellants are a potential source of benzene contamination.

While the FDA hasn’t set benzene limits for cosmetics like dry shampoo, it does say the products shouldn’t contain “any poisonous or deleterious substance.”