An independent testing lab is asking the Food and Drug Administration to recall more than 70 sunscreen products after they were found to be contaminated with a chemical that causes cancer.
Valisure LLC has tested and detected high levels of benzene, a known human carcinogen, in several brands and batches of sunscreen, which are considered drug products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as in after-sun care products, which are generally regulated by FDA as cosmetics. Benzene is known to cause cancer in humans according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization, and other regulatory agencies. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines benzene as a carcinogen and lists “inhalation, skin absorption, ingestion, skin and/or eye contact” as exposure routes. 27% of samples tested by Valisure contained detectable benzene and some batches contained up to three times the conditionally restricted FDA concentration limit of 2 parts per million (ppm).
Valisure is asking for a recall of the contaminated batches and requesting FDA better define limits for benzene contamination in drug and cosmetic products. It is important to note that not all sunscreen products contain benzene and that uncontaminated products are available, should continue to be used, and are important for protecting against potentially harmful solar radiation.
The request and list of products that tested positive for benzene is here
The list of products tested and found without benzene is here