Why You Should Stop Using Two Kinds of Sunscreen Right Now
Whether you're hitting the pool or heading out to work under the Missouri sun, applying sunscreen is a good idea. It can protect you from getting skin cancer. Yet, if you use Neutrogena or Aveeno Aerosol Sunscreen, you might want to change brands for a while.
Johnson & Johnson is voluntarily recalling all lots of five Neutrogena and Aveeno Aerosol Sunscreen product lines. Johnson & Johnson found low levels of benzene in the sunscreen. The company says users should stop using the products and dispose of them.
According to the company announcement posted on the Food and Drug Administration's website:
The only sunscreen products impacted are aerosol products, specifically:
NEUTROGENA® Beach Defense® aerosol sunscreen,
NEUTROGENA® Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen,
NEUTROGENA® Invisible Daily™ defense aerosol sunscreen,
NEUTROGENA® Ultra Sheer® aerosol sunscreen, and
AVEENO® Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen.
Some exposure to benzene is unavoidable. For example, it winds up in our air from motor vehicle exhaust, gas stations, industry, and secondhand tobacco smoke. It gets into the air in our homes from the glues, paints, detergents, and furniture wax we use. Smokers are exposed to it while inhaling tobacco smoke.
Higher levels of benzene can be found at gas stations and near toxic waste sites. And those employed in industries that use benzene can be exposed to the highest levels of it.
Johnson & Johnson says, "Based on exposure modeling and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) framework, daily exposure to benzene in these aerosol sunscreen products at the levels detected in our testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling all lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen products."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long-term exposure to benzene has been known to cause a low red blood cell count leading to anemia, excessive bleeding, and weaken the immune system. The Department of Health and Human Services has determined benzene can cause leukemia. And cause fertility issues in women.
We can't protect ourselves from everything that can cause cancer but wearing sunscreen is a good way to prevent skin cancer. And switching sunscreens for a while if you use one of the affected products, is a small way to lower your exposure to a nasty toxin that we're exposed to every day.