June 5, 2023

Independent lab finds ‘worrying’ cancer-causing chemicals in more dry shampoo products, report claims

According to a new report by independent laboratory Valisure, several brands and batches of dry shampoo products have been found to contain high levels of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical.

Just last month, certain aerosol dry shampoos—including some Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI, and TRESemmé products—were voluntarily recalled due to potential benzene.

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

According to their report, 11 samples showed levels more than 10 times greater than 2 parts per million (ppm), the FDA’s drug limit.

“However, the tested dry shampoos are not drugs and do not contain an active pharmaceutical ingredient for therapeutic purposes, so a significant detection of benzene is unacceptable. In addition, Valisure shows data on the analysis of benzene by directly sampling the contaminated air after spraying dry shampoo products, which indicates the potential for short-term 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 quantities makes this finding particularly troubling,” David Light , CEO of Valisure, and Qian Wu, Valisure’s director of global analytics, wrote in the FDA Citizen Petition.

The petition urges the FDA to “promptly request recalls” of those batches of products containing benzene and to better define limits for benzene contamination in other products.

The FDA normally takes 180 days to respond to a citizen petition.

In summary, three dry shampoo products from one brand contained spray with more than 100 ppm benzene, according to the petition, and some samples tested by Valisure showed more than 10 times the FDA’s drug limit. The petition also states that Valisure has also detected benzene in other commonly used products, including certain hand sanitizers and sunscreens.

CNN reached out to the brands listed in the petition and reached out to the FDA for comment, but did not immediately hear back from all.

Church & Dwight, the maker of Batiste hair products, said in a statement: “Consumer safety is of the utmost importance. When propellants were reported to be the source of benzene in competitors’ recalled products, we contacted our propellant suppliers and confirmed those suppliers whose propellants used in our Batiste products do not contain benzene. We evaluated the report’s recent claims at the center.”

Not Your Mother’s, the hair care brand listed in the petition, told CNN in a statement: “The safety of our consumers is our top priority. We are concerned about a recent report related to the dry shampoo category that raises questions about the detected levels of benzene in a propellant used in aerosol products manufactured in or before the fall of 2021. This report contradicts the information provided by our suppliers and the ongoing rigorous testing to ensure the safety and integrity of our products. These tests show no traceable amounts of benzene. committed to continuous evaluation to ensure the utmost safety and quality of all our products.”

In a new release, Valisure’s Light said: “Finding high levels of benzene in dry shampoos should be of significant concern as these products are likely to be used indoors where benzene can linger and be inhaled for long periods of time.

“These and other issues identified by Valisure, including the detection of benzene in body sprays, hand sanitizers and sunscreens, strongly emphasize the importance of independent testing and the need to better integrate it into an increasingly complex and vulnerable global supply chain.”

Last year, several deodorants and sunscreen products were withdrawn from the market due to the detection of benzene.

Benzene is formed from both natural and man-made processes. “Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and wildfires. Benzene is also a natural component of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The main way people are exposed is by breathing air that contains benzene,” according to the American Cancer Society.

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