Edgewell Personal Care Company, the corporation behind many popular personal care products, last week issued a voluntary recall for three batches of its Banana Boat sunscreen due to traces of benzene.
The three batches of Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 have expiration dates of December 2022, February 2023 and April 2024, and are all six-ounce sizes of the product. The lot codes for the recalled products are 20016AF, 20084BF and 21139AF.
Edgewell said it found “trace levels of benzene” in the sunscreens following an internal review, noting that the company does not use the chemical in its products, but that a review showed the “unexpected levels of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can.”
Benzene, a widely-used chemical in the United States, can be both manmade and naturally found in the environment. Natural benzene comes from forest fires or volcanoes and is found in cigarette smoke and crude oil; a number of industries use benzene to make other products like lubricants, dyes and synthetic fibers, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Individuals who breathe in high levels of benzene may experience symptoms including drowsiness, dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, headaches, tremors, confusion and unconsciousness. Direct benzene exposure to the eyes or skin can cause both tissue injury and irritation.
Prolonged exposure to the carcinogen can lead to cancers of the bone marrow and blood, as well as leukemia, though Edgewell to date “has not received any adverse events related to this recall.”
Edgewell noted in its release that “no other batches of Hair & Scalp (either before or after these batch codes) and no other Banana Boat products are in the scope of this recall and may continue to be used by consumers safely and as intended.”
Individuals who purchased one of the recalled Banana Boat batches are eligible for a refund, and all remaining products on the shelf have been ordered to be removed. Batch lot numbers are located on the bottom of the can.