Pharma giant Johnson & Johnson currently seems to be stuck in a place that no firm would want to be stuck at, as it has just been forced to voluntarily recall its Neutrogena and Aveeno spray sunscreen, after traces of a chemical, benzene were detected in some of the batches. The company has advised users to immediately throw away any bottles that they might currently be using, since benzene is known to be carcinogenic (that is, it has the potential to cause cancer). The chemical is not intentionally used in the sunscreen, and so, an investigation has been launched into the possible cause of the contamination.
Out of Abundance of Caution
The brands whose batches have been implicated to be contaminated include Neutrogena Beach Defense, Neutrogena Invisible Daily, Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer, as well as Aveeno Protect + Refresh. As per a statement issued by the firm, all batches and lots of the above-mentioned brands of aerosol (spray) sunscreens are being recalled “out of an abundance of caution.”
The news was first revealed by The Wall Street Journal, and informed users that the company is currently in the process of notifying distributors and retailers to stop selling the products and arrange for their return.
Johnson & Johnson has also said that it is currently holding talks with regulatory agencies in other countries to discuss the matter.
While no information about the number of bottles that was were found to be contaminated has been revealed, the company, which is one of the world leaders of consumer health products, has said that the levels of benzene detected were quite low, and were unlikely to cause any serious ill effects. The exact levels have not been revealed, however. The Neutrogena wet Skin, which is another spray sunscreen under the Neuotrogena banner, has not been affected.
Thanks to Valisure
The recall process began after an online pharmacy, by the name of Valisure LLC notified of high levels of benzene found in 24 sunscreens and other skincare items. Following this, the pharmacy filed a petition with the FDA to get the products removed, including a handful of those recalled by J&J.
This resulted in Valisure’s Chief Executive Officer David Light saying that he hopes that “regulators and manufacturers continue to take further action” in order to minimize the overall impact of “serious contamination issues” in sunscreens, as well as other products. Valisure has previously led to the recall of antidiabetic drug Metformin, and heartburn medicine Zantac.