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P&G recalls Old Spice, Secret sprays after carcinogen found

                                Specific products included in voluntary P&G aerosol spray antiperspirant recall.
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Specific products included in voluntary P&G aerosol spray antiperspirant recall.

Procter & Gamble Co. is recalling certain lots of Old Spice and Secret aerosol antiperspirants in the U.S. after the carcinogen benzene was detected in the products.

The recall extends to aerosols with an expiration date through September 2023, P&G said Tuesday in a statement. The company is also recalling Old Spice Below Deck aerosol sprays.

The recall follows findings from an independent laboratory, Valisure, that detected benzene in the antiperspirants earlier this month, as first reported by Bloomberg. Valisure tested 108 batches of antiperspirant and deodorant sprays from 30 brands including Old Spice, Secret and others, and detected benzene in 59 batches.

The lab petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to request a recall of the products. P&G said it’s conducting the recall with the FDA’s knowledge.

P&G’s investigation found that the benzene came from the propellant used in the sprays, Kate DiCarlo, a spokeswoman, said in an email. “Our manufacturing partner identified an issue with their propellant supply and is implementing additional measures to address the issue identified in the investigation,” she said, declining to name the partner.

Propellants in personal-care aerosols can include petroleum products such as butane and propane.

P&G shares were little changed in U.S. post-market trading.


Testing by Valisure also led Johnson & Johnson earlier this year to recall all lots of five Neutrogena and Aveeno brand aerosol sunscreen product lines after testing found benzene in some samples. There has since been a string of benzene-related recalls that includes antifungals and foot odor products.

In addition to aerosols, Valisure testing also has detected the contaminant in hand sanitizers, most of which came on the market at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to fill supply gaps.

Benzene exposure is linked to a high risk of developing leukemia, though P&G said the levels found in the products aren’t expected to be linked to adverse health consequences. Lawsuits have been brought against other recalled products contaminated with benzene.

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