Dry shampoo recalled over potential cancer-causing ingredient

Unilever says it is recalling dry shampoo aerosol products sold nationwide because they may contain elevated levels of benzene, a human carcinogen. The recall is the latest of half a dozen so far this year, with the cancer-causing chemical appearing in products including deodorant, hand sanitizer and sunscreen.

The latest recall includes dry shampoo aerosol products made before October 2021 from the Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head) and TRESemmé brands, the company said in a notice published Friday by the US Food and Drug Administration. A full list of affected products and UPC codes can be found here.

An internal probe identified the fuel as the source and Unilever was working with its fuel suppliers to resolve the issue, it said.

Those who purchased the affected aerosol dry shampoo products should stop using them and visit for refund instructions.

Image of some products recalled by Unilever.

US Food and Drug Administration

The recall is the second this year for Unilever involving a product possibly containing benzene. The conglomerate sells around 400 products worldwide, from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

Exposure to benzene can lead to cancer, including leukemia and blood marrow cancer, as well as life-threatening blood disorders. Daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in testing “would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences,” Unilever said.

Usually found chemically

One of the most common chemicals in the United States, benzene is present in gasoline and cigarette smoke, following the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People are most often exposed by breathing the chemical in the air, but they can also absorb it into their bodies by touching petroleum products, or by eating or drinking contaminated food or drink.

Unilever at the end of March recalled two Suave 24-hour protection aerosol antiperspirants after an internal review found slightly elevated levels of benzene in some samples.

Four other companies have recalled products this year after finding benzene in samples, and more than half a dozen recalls came for the same reason last year.

In December, for example, Procter & Gamble recalled aerosol dry shampoo and conditioner spray products from six brands sold nationwide after finding benzene in some of them.

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