Unilever Issues Voluntary Recall of 19 Dry Shampoos Due to Possible Benzene Contamination

UPDATE (October 25, 2022, 12:30 p.m. EST):

On October 18, Unilever released a statement stating that it is recalling several dry shampoos across different brands due to potential benzene contamination. Through its own investigation, the company discovered traces of benzene in 19 dry shampoos from Dove, Nexxus, Suave, Tresemme, and TIGI specifically. All affected products were created prior to October 2021.

Unilever is issuing this recall largely to be cautious, seeing as the levels of benzene found in its investigation were not high enough to negatively affect consumers, according to the statement. Additionally, the company noted that it has not received any reports of consumers experiencing adverse effects from using its dry shampoos. Through its own investigation, the company also discovered that the propellant in the aerosol sprays seems to be the issue and is working with its suppliers to figure out a solution. 

All the affected products can be found in this table from Unilever that lists each product’s size, universal product code, and lot code. These dry shampoos are being removed from retailer shelves as well. Consumers affected by the recall can visit or call 1-877-270-7412 for more information on how to receive reimbursement for these products or to ask any questions.  

Procter & Gamble has announced the voluntary recall of numerous dry shampoos and dry conditioners from several of its brands following tests that revealed the presence of benzene. The known carcinogen was found in more than 30 aerosol sprays in those specific hair-product categories from Pantene, Aussie, Herbal Essences, Waterless, Old Spice, and Hair Food, though “the levels detected in our testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences,” according to a statement from P&G. The company says it is conducting the recall out of an abundance of caution and has not received any reports of adverse events related to benzene in its dry shampoos and conditioners. 

Benzene is a naturally occurring chemical found in volcanoes and forest fires, and “a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke,” according to the CDC, which says that most people are exposed to it every day due to the air we breathe containing low levels from tobacco smoke, motor vehicle exhaust, and industrial emissions. Commonly used in the production of plastics and detergents and found in glue and paint, benzene is not an intentional ingredient in personal-care products. P&G recognizes in its statement that exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin, and it can lead to cancers, including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow, as well as blood disorders.