As COVID-19 cases continue to drop, Americans are eager to get back to the beach this summer and make up for lost time.
But it appears there’s a little problem that needs to be worked out first.
A recent investigation by the online pharmacy and laboratory Valisure uncovered alarming ingredients in some of the most popular sunscreen brands.
The report identified the chemical benzene in sunscreen lotions and sprays from popular brands including Neutrogena and Banana Boat. Benzene has been long been considered a cancer-causing contaminant, and is not found in the formulas of these products. Experts believe there is no safe amount of benzene to be applied to the skin, although the FDA does allow it in levels of 2 parts per million.
Additionally, the levels of benzene varied from batch to batch in the sunscreens studied, evidence that led Valisure to assume that the manufacturing process was to blame for the contamination.
The company has since initiated a petition urging the FDA to recall 40 sunscreen formulas, which include many household names. Neutrogena is the brand that tops the list with the highest levels of benzene.
David Light, CEO of Valisure, called the benzene contamination “a broad and very concerning issue in the American consumer product supply chain,” saying “it underscores the critical need for independent testing.” Light’s comments come after another Valisure investigation, this one in March, found benzene contamination in dozens of hand sanitizers.
The FDA, in a statement to USA Today, has said it is both reviewing the petition and monitoring the sunscreen marketplace and its manufacturing.