The Hawaiʻi Department of Health is alerting residents and visitors that the company’s testing identified low levels of benzene in some samples of the products. The health department says consumers should stop using the affected products, and discard or return them.
Health officials say benzene is common in the environment, including in motor vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke, and is known to cause cancer in humans. Benzene is not an ingredient in sunscreen products and the levels of benzene found in the recalled products was low. Based on current information, the health department says daily exposure to benzene in these sunscreen products would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences. However, these products are being recalled to prevent further exposure. Johnson & Johnson says it is investigating the possible cause of contamination that led to the presence of benzene in their products.
The recalled sunscreens were packaged in aerosol cans and distributed nationwide, including Hawaiʻi, through a variety of retailers. The Department of Health notes three of the affected sunscreens also contain oxybenzone and/or octinoxate, which are ingredients banned from sale or distribution in Hawaiʻi under state law that went into effect in January 2021.
In the recall alert, the health department stressed that sunscreen use is critical to public health and the prevention of skin cancer. Health officials say people should continue to take appropriate sun protection measures, including using reef-safe sunscreens, covering skin with clothing and hats, and avoiding the sun during peak hours.
Consumers may contact the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Care Center with questions, or to request a refund, by calling 1-800-458-1673. Consumers should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have any questions or have experienced any problems related to using these aerosol sunscreen products. Johnson & Johnson is also notifying its distributors and retailers by letter, and is arranging for returns of all recalled products.