Sunscreen and now Deodorants, with a dose of benzene

The suns both our enemy and friend, just depends on how much and where you’re getting the rays. And who’s kidding who smelling good may be a good idea as well.

You may be aware that some Johnson and Johnson sunscreens have been pulled from the market. The short story is they were found to contain benzene, a highly toxic carcinogen.  Benzene is easily absorbed through contact with your lungs, skin, and mouth.

The J&J rap is that the toxin was found in “small” quantities and is being recalled “Out of an abundance of caution” as the levels are relative to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) framework, “would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences”.

There are a few sticky points here that as a wise consumer you might consider. The impact of benzene can have many different effects on one’s body based on what you eat, to your lifestyle, what medications you take and much more.

Typically, this toxin can create a problem with one’s liver, but that’s the start of the concern. If you’re the scientific type ,a quick read of the publication, “Biochemical toxicity of Benzene” will have you focused on some of the damage caused. Does the thought of  ” DNA strand breaks, chromosomal damage, sister chromatid exchange, inhibition of topoisomerase II and damage to mitotic spindle.”  leading toward cancers and multiple myeloma sound acceptable ?

Hopefully, this should put a stop to even considering these items that contain this substance.

But let’s say you’re a worker and not your child or yourself. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration OSHA’s rules are clear, “1910.1028(c)(1) Time-weighted average limit (TWA). The employer shall assure that no employee is exposed to an airborne concentration of benzene in excess of one part of benzene per million parts of air (1 ppm) as an 8-hour time-weighted average”.

My question to you is how you could know that with the multiple applications you’re not exceeding the “acceptable worker” level ? Ever note how the aerosols tend to get everywhere when you’re applying them ?

Did you realize that your skin is your largest organ ? Your child or infant has much less protection with their skin containing less of the top layers and having a different composition, leaving them more venerable. When you couple this with a child’s higher metabolic rate and immature organs it’s clear that they can’t tolerate many toxins as effectively as adults.

The products that have contamination are  NEUTROGENA® and AVEENO® Aerosol Sunscreen Products .


  • NEUTROGENA® Beach Defense® aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Invisible Daily™ defense aerosol sunscreen,
  • NEUTROGENA® Ultra Sheer® aerosol sunscreen, and
  • AVEENO® Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen.


The Brut and Sure deodorant recall

The rap from the company we found “unexpected levels of benzene”

  • Brut Classic Antiperspirant Aerosol, 4oz – UPC: 00827755070085
  • Brut Classic Antiperspirant Aerosol, 6oz – UPC: 00827755070108
  • Sure Regular Antiperspirant Aerosol, 6oz – UPC: 00883484002025
  • Sure Unscented Antiperspirant Aerosol, 6oz – UPC: 00883484002278
  • Brut Classic Deodorant Aerosol, 154g – UPC: 00827755070177
  • Brut Classic Deodorant Aerosol, 10oz – UPC: 00827755070047


What to Do:

  • Choose brands that are non-chemical based for their SPF
  • Know that the average sunscreen needs to be applied regularly, especially if you’re in water
  • Don’t use aerosols….the sunscreen belongs on your skin, not in your lungs
  • Wear a hat and clothing that casts a shadow
  • If your skins damaged by too much sun exposure, consider several topical products that contain vitamin C
  • Contact the JJCI Consumer Care Center 24/7 with questions or to request a refund by calling 1-800-458-1673
  • Spray deodorant is probably always a bad idea, use a cream or a roll on product