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Independent lab discovered ‘troubling’ levels of cancer-causing chemical in more types of dry shampoo products

According to a new report from Valisure, an independent laboratory, high levels of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical, have been detected in more brands and batches of dry shampoo products.

Certain aerosol dry shampoos, including some Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI, and TRESemmé products, were voluntarily recalled last month due to the potential presence of benzene.

The lab then sent a citizen petition to the US Food and Drug Administration on Monday, stating that 70% of samples tested showed “quantifiable” levels of benzene in 148 batches from 34 different brands of dry shampoo products.

According to their findings, 11 samples had levels that were more than ten times higher than the FDA’s drug limit of 2 parts per million (ppm).

“However, the dry shampoos tested are not drugs and contain no active pharmaceutical ingredient for a therapeutic purpose; therefore, any significant detection of benzene could be deemed unacceptable. Furthermore, Valisure shows data from the analysis of benzene by directly sampling contaminated air after spraying dry shampoo products, which suggests a potential for short- and long-term inhalation exposure to high levels of benzene. The presence of this known human carcinogen in dry shampoo products that are regularly used indoors and in large volumes makes this finding especially troubling,” David Light, Valisure’s chief executive officer, and Qian Wu, Valisure’s head of global analytics, wrote in the FDA Citizen Petition.

The petition requests that the FDA “expeditiously request recalls” of affected batches of benzene-containing products, as well as better define limits for benzene contamination in other products.

The FDA typically responds to a citizen petition within 180 days.

According to the petition, three lots of dry shampoo products from one brand contained spray with more than 100 ppm of benzene, and some samples tested by Valisure showed more than ten times the FDA drug limit. The petition also claims that Valisure has discovered benzene in other commonly used products, such as hand sanitizers and sunscreens.

CNN contacted the brands listed in the petition and the FDA for comment but did not receive immediate responses from all of them.

Church & Dwight, the manufacturer of Batiste hair products, issued a statement: “Consumer safety is of the utmost importance. When propellants had been reported to be the source of benzene in competitors’ recalled products, we contacted our propellant suppliers and confirmed with those suppliers that the propellants used in our Batiste products do not contain benzene. We will evaluate the report at the center of the recent claims.”

According to Valisure’s Light, the detection of high levels of benzene in dry shampoos should be cause for serious concern because these products are likely used indoors, where benzene can linger and be inhaled for extended periods of time.

“These and other issues identified by Valisure, including the detection of benzene in body spray, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen products, strongly underscore the importance of independent testing and its need to be better integrated into an increasingly complex and vulnerable global supply chain.”

Several deodorants and sunscreen products were recalled last year due to benzene contamination.

Both natural and man-made processes produce benzene. “Volcanoes and forest fires are natural sources of benzene.” According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “benzene is also a natural component of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.”

According to the American Cancer Society, the main way people are exposed is by breathing in benzene-containing air.


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