On October 18, New Jersey-based Unilever announced a voluntary recall of several dry shampoo brands, including Dove, Nexxus and Suave, which the business conglomerate produces.
This is because these products may expose consumers to a carcinogen called benzene.
“U.S. Unilever has decided to voluntarily recall certain batch codes of dry shampoo aerosol products manufactured by Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head) and TRESemmé before October 2021. Benzene ” the company said in a statement.
Unilever confirmed that the problem was discovered as part of an internal investigation that identified aerosol fuel as the source. Unilever also said it was working with its fuel suppliers to resolve the issue.
Those who purchased the recalled products are urged to stop using them, throw them away or return them to the store where they purchased them.
A full list and description of the recalled products can be found here.
Consumers can find instructions on how to obtain a recall for these products at unileverrecall.com.
Benzene is known to cause cancer
According to Nima Majlesi, DO, director of toxicology at Staten Island University Hospital, part of Northwell Health in New York, benzene is a carcinogen and can cause cancer.
“The degree of carcinogenesis is highly correlated with the degree of exposure,” he told Healthline.
As with any poison, he points out, “it’s the dose that makes the poison.”
Majlesi added that most cases are respiratory and are common in many industries.
“The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulate exposure levels in these work environments,” he said.
It is associated with leukemia, especially acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
How can benzene affect you?
Majlesi says benzene has been linked to leukemia, particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
However, the level of exposure to Unilever’s recalled products may not be high enough to cause concern.
“The amount of benzene in these products appears to be very low,” he said.
Majlesi added that the level of exposure is unlikely to lead to a higher risk of leukemia.
“Remember that we are exposed to benzene in varying amounts and concentrations every day,” he explains. “Although exposure to these dry shampoos is not negligible, it is still very small and unlikely to cause significant consequences.”