Johnson & Johnson Photograph:( AFP )
Johnson & Johnson has faced thousands of lawsuits across the United States alleging it failed to warn consumers of the risk of cancer from asbestos in its talc-based products
Johnson & Johnson is recalling five of its sunscreen products after some samples were found to contain low levels of benzene, a chemical that can cause cancer with repeated exposure.
The affected products, packaged in aerosol cans, are Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen, and four Neutrogena sunscreen versions: Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen, CoolDry Sport aerosol sunscreen, Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen, and UltraSheer aerosol sunscreen.
The New Jersey-based company said that consumers should stop using the products and discard them after internal testing identified low levels of benzene in some samples.
J&J is also notifying distributors and retailers to stop selling the products and arranging for their return "out of an abundance of caution".
Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen, a substance that could potentially cause cancer depending on the level and extent of exposure.
J&J said that benzene is not an ingredient in its sunscreen products and it is investigating the cause of the contamination.
"Daily exposure to benzene in these aerosol sunscreen products at the levels detected in our testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences," the company said.
Consumers should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have any concerns, questions or have experienced any problems related to using these products.
The recall is another blow for J&J, one of the world's largest producers of consumer health products.
The company already faces billions of dollars of potential court losses and settlements from damages claims related to its baby powder, vaginal mesh implants and opioid painkillers.
J&J's COVID-19 vaccine rollout has also been hampered by production problems and the shot has been linked to two very rare side effects: Guillain-Barré Syndrome and a potentially life threatening blood clotting condition.
Health regulators in the United States have said that the vaccine's benefits outweigh the risks.
(With inputs from agencies)