Procter & Gamble Recalls Aerosol Sprays for Benzene Risk

A product recall is a request from a manufacturer that a defective or unsafe product be taken off of the market for safety issues. Every company, it seems, finds itself experiencing a product recall eventually, from car manufacturing companies to dog food manufacturers.

Procter & Gamble recently issued a voluntary recall of several of its Old Spice and Secret aerosol spray products. A Valisure investigation led to the discovery of unsafe levels of a cancer-causing chemical known as benzene found in the products. The recalled products were distributed nationwide through multiple retail outlets in the United States and online.

The following products have been recalled:

UPC 037000728870 – Old Spice Sweat Defense Pure Sport Plus Dry Spray Antiperspirant/Deodorant 107 g

UPC 037000728863 – Old Spice Sweat Defense Stronger Swagger Dry Spray Antiperspirant/Deodorant 107 g

UPC 012044029053 – Old Spice Sweat Defense Ultimate Captain Dry Spray Antiperspirant/Deodorant 107 g

UPC 056100008965 – Secret Baby Powder Spray Antiperspirant/Deodorant 122 g

UPC 037000747765 – Secret Outlast Completely Clean Dry Spray Antiperspirant/Deodorant 107 g

UPC 037000747826 – Secret Outlast Protecting Powder Dry Spray Antiperspirant/Deodorant 107 g

UPC 037000729587 – Secret Dry Spray Lavender Anti-perspirant/Deodorant 107 g

UPC 037000729600 – Secret Dry Spray Waterlily Anti-perspirant/Deodorant 107 g

More information can be found on the Proctor & Gamble website.

Why are the products being recalled?

In early November, Valisure presented a citizen petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that stated its testing discovered that benzene was present at up to nine times the emergency FDA limit of two parts per million in several of its brands of antiperspirant and deodorant body sprays. There were 108 batches of products from 30 different brands tested; from the 108 batches of products, 54 percent of products contained detectable benzene.

A spokesperson for Procter & Gamble declared that the investigation revealed that traces of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can. According to the spokesperson, daily exposure to the level of benzene that was detected would not cause adverse health consequences. Still, benzene is a chemical known to cause cancers like leukemia and blood disorders that are life-threatening. Customers can be exposed to benzene in multiple ways, from inhalation to contact on the skin and even orally.

What led to the investigation of Procter and Gamble’s products?

Valisure CEO David Light stated in an email statement that the product contamination issues may be attributed to quality issues revolving around the raw materials. The recent news reports of benzene being discovered in multiple personal care aerosol spray products convinced the company to begin an independent investigation.

These issues (and others) that Valisure identified show the importance of independent testing and the need to be better integrated into a global supply chain. The company hopes that manufacturers take further action on body sprays and other products affected by carcinogenic contamination to help provide relief for customers who worry about being exposed to these types of unnecessary risks.

What is benzene, and how can a person become exposed to it?

Benzene is a chemical that can transform into a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. It can evaporate into the air quickly. It can be formed from both natural processes and human activities. While benzene is found in low levels in objects like tobacco smoke and motor vehicle exhaust, more significant levels of benzene can be found in indoor air than in outdoor air. Benzene can be found in paints, glues, furniture wax, and detergents.

What are some signs and symptoms of benzene exposure?

When people breathe in large amounts of benzene, they can experience dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, and unconsciousness. People can begin to experience these symptoms in the period of a few minutes to a few hours after being exposed to the chemical. Individuals can also experience similar symptoms when consuming foods and beverages containing high benzene levels.

What are some of the long-term health effects of being exposed to benzene?

The significant consequences of long-term exposure (meaning a year or more) to benzene can be found in a person’s blood. Benzene can cause significant damage to a person’s bone marrow and lead to a decrease in red blood cells. These effects can cause conditions like anemia and excessive bleeding. The long-term effects of the damage done to the immune system can increase the chances of infection.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has discovered that benzene causes cancer in humans. When a person is exposed to high levels of benzene for an extended period, it can cause leukemia and cancer of the blood-forming organs.

What are the next steps if you have purchased these products?

Procter & Gamble have notified its retailers to remove the recalled products from the shelves. Old Spice and Secret also have offered reimbursement for consumers who have purchased the recalled products. Consumers are advised to stop using the products immediately and properly discard the recalled products.

Procter & Gamble has not received any reports of adverse reactions to the recalled products. However, suppose any consumer begins to experience any adverse reactions, in that case, they are advised to report to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either by regular mail, online, or through fax.

The experienced Huntsville product liability lawyers at Martin & Helms are here to fight for your right to fair compensation for your injury that was caused by a defective product. If you or a loved one sustained injuries from a dangerous product, please call us in Huntsville or Decatur at 256-539-1990 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation to discover how we can help you. We also serve injured clients in Athens, Madison, and throughout North Alabama.