What to Know About Benzene and Cancer in the Procter & Gamble Shampoo Recall

Procter & Gamble has recalled 32 aerosolized hair care products in the United States and Canada after detecting “unexpected levels” of benzene, a potentially carcinogenic chemical.

News week previously reported that P&G wrote in a statement: “Following recent reports indicating traces of benzene in certain aerosol products, we have begun a review of our total aerosol product portfolio.

“Although benzene is not an ingredient in any of our products, our review showed unexpected levels of benzene were coming from the propellant spraying the product out of the can. “

The company added that it had detected benzene in aerosol dry shampoo spray products and aerosol dry conditioner spray products. He continued, “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the consumers who use our products and the quality of the products we ship.”

P&G said News week that affected products included: “Dry Spray Shampoos and Dry Spray Conditioners from Pantene, Herbal Essences, Aussie and Waterl

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classifies benzene as “carcinogenic to humans”. The American Cancer Society said this was based on sufficient evidence that benzene causes acute myeloid leukemia.

The IARC has also stated that there are links between benzene and acute lymphoid leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Other organizations that consider benzene to be a known carcinogen are the National Toxicology Program and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Benzene can also cause other negative health effects. The American Cancer Society has stated that in the short term, exposure to high levels of the chemical can cause “drowsiness, dizziness, headache, tremors, confusion, and / or loss of consciousness. consciousness ”.

He added that consuming food or fluids contaminated with high levels of benzene can cause vomiting, stomach irritation, dizziness, drowsiness, seizures and rapid heart rate, adding that in In extreme cases, inhaling or ingesting very high levels of benzene can be fatal.

Long-term effects can include a low red blood cell count or anemia, which can make a person feel weak and tired.

The American Cancer Society added that long-term exposure to benzene can also lead to a low white blood cell count, which can reduce the body’s ability to fight infections and may even be life-threatening, or a low platelet count which can cause bruising and excessive bleeding.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said benzene is a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature, has a sweet odor and is highly flammable.

The chemical, which is produced both naturally and artificially, is made up of molecules that are a ring of six carbon atoms, both single and doubly bonded together.

This makes it a very stable molecule and provides “branches” that can join a benzene ring to other atoms such as hydrogen, or help it become part of larger, more complex molecules.

Benzene is one of the most widely used chemicals in US industry with applications in plastics, resins, nylon, and man-made fibers, According to the CDC. The chemical is also used to make certain types of lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides.

Talk to News week P&G added, “The majority of our portfolio — foams, hairsprays, liquid shampoos, liquid conditioners, styling products and treatments — including other Pantene, Aussie, Herbal Essences, Hair Food and Waterl products.

In its public statement, P&G also clarified that it had not yet detected any adverse effects related to the recalled products and that the voluntary recall was the result of “great caution”.

A stock image shows a product applied to the hair. P&G has recalled 32 aerosolized hair products containing the carcinogen, benzene.
Getty Images

Comments are closed.