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Unilever recalls Dove, other aerosol dry products over cancer risk

New Delhi: Unilever Plc recalled popular brands of aerosol dry shampoo, including Dove, after discovering that they were contaminated with benzene, a carcinogen. According to a notice published on the Food and Drug Administration website on Friday, the recall extends to brands including Nexxus, Suave, Tresemmé, and Tigi, which manufactures the dry shampoos Rockaholic and Bed Head.

The goods that Unilever is recalling were produced before October 2021. The action calls into question the safety of aerosols in personal care products once more. Aerosol sunscreens like Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena, Edgewell Personal Care Co.’s Banana Boat, and Beiersdorf AG’s Coppertone, as well as spray-on deodorants like Procter & Gamble Co.’s Secret and Old Spice and Unilever’s Suave, have all been removed from store shelves over the previous 15 months. Beginning in May 2021, Valisure, a New Haven, Connecticut-based analytical lab, discovered benzene in several items, which led to the recalls.

Spray-on dry shampoo has already been mentioned as a potential issue. Following Valisure’s findings, P&G examined every aerosol product in its lineup. The business then issued a benzene contamination recall for its Pantene and Herbal Essences dry shampoos in December.

“Given what we’ve seen, it unfortunately makes sense that other consumer-product categories, like aerosol dry shampoos, could be heavily affected by benzene contamination and we are actively investigating this area,” said Valisure Chief Executive Officer David Light.

The propellants used to spray the personal care items from the cans in aerosols appear to be the main source of the issue. This, according to Unilever, was the reason for the recall of dry shampoo. The company stated it was recalling the products out of an excess of caution but did not specify how much benzene was found in the products.

The FDA said “daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences.” Yet the agency also said exposure to benzene can result in leukemia and other blood cancers.

Propane and butane, which are petroleum distillates produced by refining crude oil, are frequently included in spray-on personal care products like dry shampoo. A recognised petroleum product contaminant is benzoene. Propellers are a known potential source of benzene contamination, according to the FDA.

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