Benzene in your sunscreen ? Benzene in your sunscreen ?
Johnson & Johnson is recalling five of its aerosol sunscreen products. Above, images of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen, one of the recalled products. (Image credit: Neutrogena/Johnson & Johnson)

Benzene in your sunscreen ?

by / Views 2 / July 16, 2021


The suns both our enemy and friend, just depends on how much and where you’re getting the rays.

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 the benzene can have may 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 damaged 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 contains 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 your applying them ?

Did you realize that your skins 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.



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


Your Commment