Dozens of sunscreen brands contain a potent carcinogen that can be absorbed through the skin.i
That’s the alarming finding of a new analysis. It found benzene in 78 sunscreen and after-sun products.
We recently told you that benzene also had been discovered in hand sanitizers. The chemical is linked to leukemia, multiple myeloma, and lymphoma.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer puts benzene in its highest risk category of carcinogens, on par with radioactive materials, asbestos, and formaldehyde.ii
There Is No Safe Level of Benzene
The FDA says companies should not use benzene in the manufacturing processes of personal care products because it is toxic. But the agency has an allowable limit of 2 parts per million (ppm).
Dr. Christopher Bunick, a Yale University professor of dermatology, said that even that small amount is dangerous. “There is not a safe level of benzene that can exist in sunscreen products,” he said.iii
It isn’t clear how benzene got into the products. It’s not an intentional ingredient. The testing lab that did the analysis, Valisure, believes it is a contaminant introduced during the manufacturing process.
The good news is that the lab found that most sunscreens and after-sun products did not contain the carcinogen. It found 78 products that did. Seven had levels above the FDA limit of 2 ppm. Neutrogena makes four of them.iv
7 Sun Protection Products Found to Contain High Levels of Benzene
Here’s a list of them, along with the amounts of benzene found in multiple tests:
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen SPF 100+, 4.11-6.77 ppm
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen SPF 70, 5.30-5.96 ppm
- Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Spray SPF 100, 2.64-5.59 ppm
- Sun Burn Cool Down Gel, 5.33-5.49 ppm
- Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Lotion SPF 60+, 4.65-5.27 ppm
- CVS Health Aftersun Aloe Vera Soothing Spray, 3.58-4.71 ppm
- Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel, 2.78-2.94 ppm
For a full list of sun products found to contain less than 2 ppm of benzene, GO HERE.
Valisure has petitioned the FDA to recall these products. In the meantime, you should make sure you’re not using them. If you have them in your house, discard them.
6 Safe and Effective Sunscreens
We recommend using sunscreens that are not only benzene-free, but use a mineral base of zinc and/or titanium instead of chemical sun blockers such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate. These compounds are linked to hormone disruption, allergies, and sexual dysfunction.
The Environmental Working Group gives the following brands its highest ratings for safety and effectiveness. None were found to contain benzene:v
- Ao Skincare
- Biossance Squalane
- Beautycounter Countersun
- Solara Suncare
- White & Elm
When you put on a sunscreen, you want to protect your skin, not have it invaded by chemicals.
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