Health Canada is urging Canadians to stop using a particular brand of aerosol spray sunscreen following a nationwide recall.
Johnson & Johnson Inc. has recalled all lots of Neutrogena Beach Defense and Ultra Sheer aerosol spray children and adult sunscreens due to elevated levels of benzene.
The recall, which only applies to the aerosol spray sunscreens, affects the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen SPF 30, 45, and 60 sprays and the Beach Defense Kids SPF 60 spray. All affected products expire in 2021, 2022, or 2023.
“Stop using the recalled products. Consult a health care professional if you have used any of these products and have health concerns,” Health Canada said in a release.
Long-term repeated exposure to high levels of benzene can potentially lead to serious health problems, including leukemia, anemia (low red blood cells), and bone marrow failure, according to Health Canada.
“Immediate signs of exposure to elevated levels of benzene include drowsiness, dizziness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and headaches,” said Health Canada.
Although the majority of exposures to benzene is through inhalation, Health Canada says exposure can occur by swallowing benzene or absorbing it through the skin when in contact with contaminated water.
The recall comes after Johnson & Johnson — the parent company of Neutrogena — issued a similar recall in the United States earlier this month following testing by Valisure, an independent American quality assurance company.
“The safety of health products that Canadians rely on is a priority for Health Canada. Of the products tested by Valisure, Health Canada has followed up with companies on the higher-risk products (2 parts per million (ppm) benzene and above) that are also authorized in Canada. Health Canada’s assessment is ongoing,” said Health Canada in its release.
Health Canada stresses that it is still important for people to use sunscreen as ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause cancer and other skin effects.
For more information, people can visit the recall page on Health Canada’s website by clicking here.