Procter & Gamble Recalls 32 Haircare Products Due To Contamination With Cancer-Causing Chemical – Forbes

Procter & Gamble Recalls 32 Haircare Products Due To Contamination With Cancer-Causing Chemical – Forbes


Procter & Gamble voluntarily recalled 32 aerosol dry shampoos and conditioners Friday after the company detected the cancer-causing chemical benzene in them.

Some of the dry shampoo products recalled by Procter & Gamble.


Key Facts

The products recalled included items under the Pantene, Herbal Essences, Old Spice, Hair Food, Aussie and Waterless brands.

A review of all Procter & Gamble aerosol products turned up “unexpected levels” of benzene in the propellant used in some aerosol products, the company said.

In sufficient quantities, benzene can cause leukemia and blood cancer.

However, Procter & Gamble said that it had not received any reports that the recalled products had caused negative effects, and was issuing the recall from “an abundance of caution.”

No liquid shampoos or conditioners, mousses, hairsprays or styling products were recalled.

Key Background

On November 23, Procter & Gamble recalled 18 antiperspirant products from its Old Spice and Secret brands due to benzene contamination. Some Johnson & Johnson sunscreen products were also pulled from shelves in July after the chemical was detected.Benzene is used in the manufacture of many products, including dyes, detergents and plastics, and very small amounts of the chemical do not pose an acute risk to health. The Environmental Protection Agency allows drinking water to contain up to five parts per billion of benzene.


Small amounts of benzene can form in drinks that contain both vitamin C and benzoate salts, which may be added as a preservative or found naturally in fruits like cranberries. In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration was warned that benzene had been detected in some soft drinks. Testing of almost 200 soft drinks and other beverages found elevated benzene levels in 10 products, which were later reformulated by manufacturers.

Further Reading

“P&G recalls some conditioner, shampoo sprays on finding carcinogens” (Reuters)

“A Full List of the Secret and Old Spice Deodorants Pulled from Shelves After Cancer-Linked Benzene Discovery” (Good Housekeeping)