The third benzene-related recall of 2021 has been issued after the consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble announced on Nov. 26 that different versions of Old Spice men’s cologne as well as Secret deodorant aerosol cans were found to have detectable levels of benzene, a known human carcinogenic compound that is associated with blood cancer of the bone marrow, leukemia and other blood disorders.
P&G’s announcement follows Johnson & Johnson’s recall of Neutragena and Aveeno spray-on sunscreens in July and October’s recall of five different Coppertone sprayable sunscreens.
According to CosmeticsBusiness.com, the products P&G voluntarily removed from U.S. shelves include eight Old Spice Stock-Keeping Units (SKUs), including two sold under the “Below Deck” line and 10 products from the company’s women’s body care brand, Secret.
All 18 of the recalled products are aerosol spray cans and are either body sprays or antiperspirants.
The affected products have an expiration date through September 2023. P&G said in a statement that no adverse events have been reported. However, blood-related cancers may take years to develop.
Cancer caused by benzene is most often because of high levels of exposure. Benzene is typically broken down into metabolites and leaves the body after 48 hours, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Repeated daily exposure, such as through deodorant use, can allow benzene to accumulate in the body. In addition to cancer, benzene may trigger irregular heartbeats, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) or dizziness.
Valisure, the online pharmacy and independent lab testing company that discovered the link between Zantac and the cancer-causing contaminant NDMA, detected benzene in 78 samples of sunscreen products earlier this year, according to CosmeticsBusiness.com.
David Light, CEO of Valisure, said that “Benzene is one of the most studied and concerning carcinogens known to science.” Benzene’s toxicity in humans “has been well established for over 120 years, with the hematotoxicity of benzene having been described as early as 1897,” Light added.
Consumers who purchased the recalled P&G products have been told by the company to throw away the products and request a refund via an online form.