GREENSBORO, N.C. — An online pharmacy and lab is asking the FDA to recall some popular sunscreens and after-sun products after tests it conducted showed they contained a known cancer-causing chemical.
Benzene, a known carcinogen, was found in 27% of the sprays and lotions tested by Valisure, an online pharmacy, and lab. Included in the list of products were lotions and sprays sold by Neutrogena, Banana Boat, and CVS.
“The problem with benzene is that it can cause leukemia, anemia, things like this,” said CBS Chief Medical Correspondent Jon LaPook.
“There is no manufacturer that’s intentionally adding it to the sunscreen product. Somehow, it’s in there as a contaminate. It’s not clear how it gets in there. Is it one of the ingredients that got contaminated? Is it the process of making the lotion or the after-sun product that creates it? We’re not sure,” said LaPook.
Johnson and Johnson, the maker of Neutrogena products, told CBS News, "benzene is not an ingredient in any of our personal care products."
CVS said the products it sells are safe and quote, "we are in the process of reviewing and evaluating information in and related to Valisure's petition, and will respond accordingly."
The maker of Banana Boat said quote, "our sun care products undergo rigorous testing to ensure safety and quality and meet all FDA regulations.
Not all the products from those brands were found to contain benzene. Health experts emphasize the vast majority of sunscreens do not=contain the chemical and people still need to protect themselves from the sun.
The FDA says it is reviewing Valisure’s petition for the recall. Valisure made the petition public, which includes a list of the batches with detected benzene levels. The products can be found on pages 12 to 15.