Cancer Concerns Prompt Recall

A dry shampoo worry

This past week Proctor & Gamble issued a major voluntary recall due to concern of a cancer-causing chemical in some of their products. Benzene, a known carcinogen, was detected at “unexpected” levels by Proctor & Gamble in 32 of their dry shampoo and conditioner products.

The brands include:

  • Pantene
  • Herbal Essences
  • Aussie
  • Waterless
  • Old Spice

A full list of specific products and serial numbers can be found by clicking the link at the bottom of our newsletter. What is Benzene? Benzene is one of the most widely used chemicals in the United States. It is used in plastics, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. It is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke. It is also a known carcinogen and has been linked to lymphoma and leukemia in both animal and human studies. Because of these risks, benzene is controlled and limited by federal regulations. How am I exposed to Benzene? Benzene is often found and inhaled in the air around us due to exhaust from gasoline, factory emissions, and other chemical fumes, but these levels are typically very low. Higher levels of benzene can be found in unventilated spaces where chemicals, solvents, paint, glue, and plastics may be used or produced. First or second hand smoke from cigarettes create a higher exposure to benzene as well. While some exposure in the environment would be considered “normal,” limiting exposure where we can is important. According to P&G, the EPA did not find the amount of benzene in their products to cause significant harm, but they chose to recall them anyway out of an abundance of caution. The takeaway: Cleaning up your beauty routine can go a long way in limiting your risk of exposure to benzene and other chemicals. Especially the use of dry shampoos and other aerosols which you may inhale. If you have been using any of these recalled products, take them out of your routine immediately. Side note: A similar situation occurred during the summer of 2021 when benzene was found in a number of popular sunscreen brands.

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