It’s probably going to be a smart idea to check your deodorant. Over 30 different brands have been flagged as being potentially dangerous after a citizen’s petition was filed with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this month. One of the brands has since voluntarily recalled 17 of its products. Here’s what you need to know.
According to CNN, Benzene, a chemical that’s known for causing cancer, was reportedly found in over half of the 108 batches of deodorant body sprays and antiperspirants that were tested by Valisure. And the harmful ingredient was reportedly found in 30 different brands.
What is benzene and why does it matter?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to benzene over time can cause issues with the immune system, blood, and bone marrow, which can include cancers like leukemia.
Benzene is used in the US, according to the CDC, but it’s more common for dyes, detergents, lubricants, and rubbers. But since it’s listed as a class one solvent with “unacceptable toxicity,” it shouldn’t be used in drug products, which antiperspirants are typically classified as, according to CNET, while deodorants are classified as cosmetic products.
How much benzene is bad for you?
If the use of benzene is “unavoidable in order to produce a drug product,” levels should be limited to 2 parts per million. And it’s important to note that benzene isn’t needed to make deodorant sprays or antiperspirants.
The results from the Valisure lab found over 30 brands where the levels of the chemical in deodorants and antiperspirant products were reportedly well above that upper limit. Two lots of an Old Spice antiperspirant called Pure Sport reportedly contained 17.4 average parts per million of benzene. Secret Powder Fresh lots tested reportedly contained around 16 average parts per million.
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“Additional batches of antiperspirants and deodorants, which Valisure said tested at levels up to 2 parts per million, include products made by Summer’s Eve, Right Guard, Power Stick, Soft & Dri, and Victoria’s Secret. To date, CNN was not able to verify that any of these products except Old Spice and Secret have been recalled following Valisure’s early November request to that effect to the FDA,” CNN reports.
While not all the brands have responded to the lab findings, P&G, the parent company of both Old Spice and Secret, voluntarily recalled 17 of its products “out of an abundance of caution.” P&G said, while recalling their products, that “daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in our testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences.”
While no adverse reactions have been reported related to the alleged benzene, consumers are being asked to check the lot numbers on the FDA recall notice with what they have at home. If you have one or more of the products, there are a few ways to get in touch for reimbursement. You can find all that information here: FDA Recall Notice, Old Spice and Secret.