Household goods giant Unilever recalls more than 1 million bottles of Dove, Tresemmé and other shampoos due to contamination from the cancer-causing chemical benzene
- Health Canada issued a sweeping recall for 15 different dry shampoos this week
- Parent company Unilever also removed them from the American market as a precaution
- The products were found to contain benzene, a dangerous carcinogen
Household goods conglomerate Unilever has recalled millions of its dry shampoo products after it was found to contain the human carcinogen benzene.
The recall affected both the Canadian and US markets. The company announced recalls in both countries earlier this week.
The Food and Drug Administration said this week that Unilever’s move to remove millions of dry shampoos from the US market was made ‘out of an abundance of caution’.
There have been no reports of adverse effects associated with benzene exposure in the US, but the chemical was found in the products marketed in Canada.
Health Canada, the government health agency, has announced that to remind this week for 15 different products manufactured under different brands under Unilever.
More than a million of the affected products were sold in Canada between January 2020 and October 2022.
Continued exposure to benzene over a long period of time can cause leukemia, blood cancers of the bone marrow, and blood disorders that can be life-threatening.
Pregnant women should also limit their exposure to benzene whenever possible. The chemical has been proven to disrupt a developing fetus during pregnancy.
The Canadian health service recalled millions of products after they were found to contain benzene. While US health officials have not confirmed that the products sold statewide were tainted, Unilever withdrew them from US markets as a precaution.
Benzene – the cancer-causing chemical found in millions of dry shampoos
Benzene is a cancer-causing chemical, also known as a carcinogen, that is widely used in manufacturing in the US.
It is used in making plastic, nylon, rubbers, paint and adhesive products.
It can also be found in tobacco smoke, motor vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions.
Long-term exposure to the chemical has been linked to severe damage to a person’s blood.
In has been linked to blood cancers such as leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The chemical has also been linked to anemia.
Health Canada said“Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled product and dispose of it in accordance with the disposal instructions on the package.”
Recalled products in the US include Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head) and TRESemmé.
Aerosols, including dry shampoos and hairsprays that use butane, propane, or other propellants, are at greater risk of being contaminated by benzene.
Benzene is a raw material often used to produce chemicals that make plastics, rubbers, paints, resins, synthetic fibers and glues. It is also found in crude oil and is an important component of gasoline.
Short-term inhalation of high concentrations of benzene can cause a variety of adverse effects, including dizziness, headache, irregular heartbeat and, in certain serious circumstances, death.
Memories of concern about benzene contamination are not unprecedented.
Last year, Procter & Gamble recalled 32 dry shampoo and conditioner products after discovering benzene in some of them.
It was one of more than six recalls of products contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical.
Also last year, Johnson & Johnson issued a recall for five of its aerosol sunscreens after they found trace amounts of benzene.