Unilever has recalled dry shampoo from popular brands like Dove, Nexxus, Suave, Rockaholic, Bed Head, or Tresemmé on grounds of elevated levels of benzene, a human carcinogen. The recall came after findings of benzene in such products by an analytical lab called Valisure based in New Haven, Connecticut, starting in May 2021.
Benzene is a chemical that can cause cancer in humans. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene can lead to cancers such as leukemia and cancer of blood-forming organs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to aerosols, the chemical is often found in common household products like detergents, paints, furniture wax, and glues, and exposure can occur through the skin, orally, or through inhalation.
Unilever US is recalling these products out of an abundance of caution. However, Unilever has received no reports of adverse events to date relating to this recall.
Benzene has recently been linked to recalls for other personal care products like sunscreen, aerosol deodorants, and children's hand sanitizer.
The move once again raises questions about the safety of aerosols in personal-care products. In the past year and a half, several aerosol sunscreens have been pulled from selves, such as J&J's Neutrogena, Edgewell Personal Care's Banana Boat, and Beiersdorf's Coppertone along with spray-on antiperspirants like Procter & Gambles Secret and Old Spice and Unilever's Suave. The recalls were set off by findings of benzene in such products by an analytical lab called Valisure based in New Haven, Connecticut, starting in May 2021.
This isn't the first time the 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.