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Herbal Essences, Pantene aerosol products recalled over concerns about cancer-causing chemical

Procter & Gamble has recalled dry shampoos and conditioners because of the carcinogen benzene. (Proctor & Gamble)
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Procter & Gamble has recalled 32 aerosol-spray hair-care products in the United States after it found traces of benzene, a chemical that can result in cancer, in some of them.

The products include dry shampoos and dry conditioners from several of the consumer goods giant’s well-known brands, including Pantene, Aussie and Herbal Essences, which were distributed online and in stores throughout the United States.

The company said Friday in a news release that it had not received any reports of consumers’ health being harmed by the products and added that “daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in our testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences.”

The company did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.

Procter & Gamble said it initiated a review of its portfolio of aerosol products after it received “reports that indicated traces of benzene in some aerosol spray products.” It identified “unexpected levels of benzene” in dry shampoo and dry conditioner spray-on products, which it traced to “the propellant that sprays the product out of the can.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, benzene can cause the body’s cells to malfunction and “can damage the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells.” It is found in outdoor air, near cars or industrial sites and contained in tobacco smoke, as well as indoors, emanating from products like paint and detergents.

“Exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin and it can result in cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow and blood disorders which can be life-threatening,” Procter & Gamble said in its release.

The company said customers affected by the recall could apply to be reimbursed for their purchase and advised them to immediately stop using and get rid of the recalled products. It said none of its brands’ other products were within the scope of the recall.

The Food and Drug Administration also posted the company release on its website, along with a full list of the recalled products and their production codes.

In November, Procter & Gamble also recalled some aerosol deodorants from Old Spice and Secret, as well as Old Spice Below Deck aerosol spray products sold in North America after it detected benzene in them.

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