• Monday, December 05, 2022


Unilever voluntarily recalls dry shampoos over cancer-causing chemical

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

A statement has been released by Unilever U.S. announcing the recall of several aerosol dry shampoos across different brands.

Dry shampoos are used to touch up hair by adding volume or to freshen the hair between washes.

The reason behind recalling the dry shampoos is potential benzene contamination which was reportedly discovered by Unilever’s own investigation, the Express informs.

However, the recall decision once again raises questions about the safety of aerosols in personal-care products.

In the past year and a half, several aerosol sunscreens from reputed brands were also recalled due to findings of benzene by an analytical lab called Valisure based in New Haven, Connecticut.

According to the recall notice, benzene, a liquid chemical, is a human carcinogen linked to leukaemia and blood cancer.

The company has voluntarily withdrawn over 1.5 million products including Suave, TIGI, Nexxus, Dove, and TRESemmé – all these products were reportedly created prior to October 2021.

Apparently, the recall of the products is a preventive measure in a limited number of territories and retailers have been informed to remove these products from their shelves so that their sale is stopped.

However, commenting on the amount of benzene present in the products, Unilever is reported to have said that “an independent health hazard evaluation concluded that levels of benzene detected do not pose a health risk.”

The company reiterates that the products in question have been recalled just to be on the safe side and merely to practice caution.

According to a statement by Unilever, the levels of benzene that were discovered during the investigation are not high enough to negatively affect consumers.

Furthermore, the company adds that no consumers have sent any reports stating that they have experienced any harmful effects due to the dry shampoos.

Interestingly, this is not the first time there is an issue with spray-on dry shampoos. The company P&G too had earlier tested a whole range of its aerosol products following the findings of the Valisure lab.

P&G’s statement read as, “Following recent reports that indicated traces of benzene in some aerosol spray products, we began a review of our total portfolio of aerosol products.”

It further states, “While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our products, our review showed that unexpected levels of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can.

“We detected benzene in aerosol dry shampoo spray products and aerosol dry conditioner spray products.”

The statement added, “Our brands will also offer reimbursement for consumers who have purchased products impacted by this recall.

“Consumers should stop using and appropriately discard the affected aerosol dry conditioner spray products and aerosol dry shampoo spray products.”

P&G recognizes in its statement that people can get exposed to benzene by inhalation, orally, and through the skin, and this can lead to cancers and blood disorders.

Absorbing or inhaling benzene over a long period of time can cause serious health consequences because it causes dysfunction of cells in the body.

Additionally, overexposure to the chemical can cause the bone marrow to decrease the production of red blood cells thereby triggering anemia or even blood cancer.

Inhalation of high concentrations even in the short term can cause adverse effects such as headaches, dizziness, and irregular heartbeat.

Though many people are exposed to this chemical through gasoline and cigarette smoke, benzene is apparently not an intentional ingredient in personal-care products and the company has stressed that the benzene levels that were discovered in its products were not high enough to affect its customers negatively.

Unilever UK & Ireland told the Express, “The product recall does not apply to the UK.

“Unilever U.S. and Canada voluntarily recalled select lot codes of dry shampoo produced prior to October 2021 out of an abundance of caution, after an internal investigation identified elevated levels of benzene.”

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