Unilever Plc has recalled popular brands of aerosol dry shampoo, including Dove and Tresemmé after discovering they were contaminated with a chemical called benzene that can cause cancer. The company has recalled other brands as well such as Nexxus, Suave and Tigi which makes Rockaholic and Bed Head dry shampoos.
Here's all you need to know about the controversy:
- Unilever said the problem with aerosols has largely appeared to be from the propellants used to spray the personal-care products from the cans.
- Unilever 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 FDA said the exposure to benzene can result in leukemia and other blood cancers.
- This isn’t the first time spray-on dry shampoo has been identified as a problem. P&G recalled its Pantene and Herbal Essences dry shampoos in December, citing benzene contamination.
- The move once again raises questions about the safety of aerosols in personal-care products. According to Bloomberg news, a number of aerosol sunscreens have been pulled from shelves in the past year and a half, such as 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.
- The recalls of beauty products were set off by findings of benzene in such products by an analytical lab called Valisure, based in New Haven, Connecticut.
- Spray-on personal-care products like dry shampoos often contain propellants like propane and butane, which are petroleum distillates made by refining crude oil.
- Benzene is a known contaminant of petroleum products. The FDA has confirmed propellants are a potential source of benzene contamination.
- 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."
- What is dry shampoo? Dry shampoo is a product to absorb the dirt, oil and grease of your scalp without washing it. It usually come in a spray bottle. They are made with a base of alcohol or starch. According to webmd, when you spray the dry shampoo into your hair, the alcohol or starch soaks up oil and grease, making it look cleaner.
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