P&G discovers cancer-causing benzene in 18 consumer products

By Becky Bargh | Published: 25-Nov-2021

Beauty international has recalled all of the affected Old Spice and Secret skus

Procter & Gamble has voluntarily recalled 18 consumer products after it detected benzene, a known carcinogen to humans, in the formulas.

Eight skus from Old Spice, including two from its Below Deck line, and ten from P&G’s women’s body care brand Secret were removed from shelves in the US.

All of the affected products were a form of body spray or antiperspirant and packaged in aerosol cans.

Customers that bought the contaminated products, with expiry through September 2023, have been notified to cease using and dispose of the items.

Benzene is deemed to be dangerous to humans due to its cancer-causing potential.

This can include blood cancer of the bone marrow, leukemia and other blood disorders.

The chemical compound is found in natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires, and human activities, including the production of plastics and resins.

P&G said, however, that daily use of the recalled products with the levels detected would not have contributed to any health problems.

The beauty international is not the only firm to have detected levels of benzene in its skus.

Earlier this year, Valisure testing detected high levels of the chemical in 78 samples of sun care products.

Some of the batches tested contained up to three times the restricted FDA concentration of benzene, while 30% of the samples tested by the US-based company contained ‘detectable’ benzene.

“Benzene is one of the most studied and concerning carcinogens known to science,” David Light, CEO of Valisure told Cosmetics Business.

“Its toxicity in humans has been well established for over 120 years, with the hematotoxicity of benzene having been described as early as 1897.”

Speaking about Valisure’s testing capabilities, he added: “Valisure’s programmes include batch-level certification of final drug products and product-line certification for consumer products that focuses on testing raw materials, particularly when suppliers are switched.

“These certification programmes cannot be used for regulatory purposes, but the visible mark of independent quality assurance can go a long way to add trust and supply chain resiliency.”

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