The drugstore chain CVS said Thursday it was pausing sales of two store-label sun-care products that independent testing detected traces of the carcinogen benzene in earlier this year, a move that comes a day after Johnson & Johnson recalled of some of its spray sunscreens that were also found to contain the chemical.
CVS said it was halting sales of CVS Health After Sun Aloe Vera and CVS After Sun Aloe Vera Spray, which were both flagged to have had traces of benzene in a study conducted by product research company Valisure.
A CVS spokesperson said this was done “out of an abundance of caution,” and the company is working with its supplier to “take appropriate additional steps.”
Johnson & Johnson announced Wednesday that it is recalling five aerosol sunscreen products and asked people to halt using them after an internal test found samples that contained low levels of benzene.
The recall includes Aveeno Protect and Fresh spray sunscreen and four Neutrogena-branded products: Beach Defense, CoolDry Sport, Invisible Daily Defense and UltraSheer.
Four of the Johnson & Johnson products recalled were also found to have traces of benzene in Valisure’s study.
Valisure petitioned the FDA in May to pull 24 sunscreens off the market after its testing found that they contained traces of benzene. Its study tested 69 different sunscreen brands and 294 sun product lots. The FDA has not yet taken action on any of the sun-care products Valisure flagged, but said in a statement to CNET that it will “continue to monitor the sunscreen marketplace” to ensure safe products.
“We remain committed to ensuring the products we offer are safe, work as intended, comply with regulations and satisfy customers,” a CVS spokesperson told Forbes.
What We Don’t Know
Johnson & Johnson said it does not use benzene in the spray sunscreens and it did not know how the carcinogen got into the products. The company also has not yet detailed the concentration of benzene it found, though scientists say there is no level that can be safely used in sunscreens. The company also hasn’t revealed how many units of its products could be contaminated and the total number recalled from stores so far.