In May of 2021 Valisure, a pharmaceutical testing company, detected benzene, a known carcinogenic, in almost 100 batches of sunscreen and after-sun care products. They have now initiated a citizens petition to request that the FDA recall the products that contained traces of benzene.
Why is important?
Benzene is a chemical that is often produced in different manufacturing processes, most commonly in the plastic and petroleum industries. The FDA classifies it as a Class 1 solvent, meaning that is it not acceptable in the manufacturing of drug substances and products unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
The World Health Organization classifies it as a Group 1 Carcinogen, linking it to cancers like leukemia, as well has other health issues like anemia and reproductive problems.
This is a concern because it is still unclear whether small amounts of benzene in something like sunscreen poses a similar threat as it does under high-level exposure circumstances. Just knowing that benzene is a confirmed carcinogenic, this situation should not be taken lightly and these products should be avoided.
Christopher Bunick, MD/PhD, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Yale, stated that "There is not a safe level of benzene that can exist in sunscreen products".
This was very likely an issue in the manufacturing process and not an issue with the actual sunscreen itself. Don't let this deter you from continuing to wear sunscreen, it is still very imperative to protect your skin.
Visit the Valisure site to read more on the issue and view their Citizen Petition here to view the list of products with confirmed amounts of benzene. They are also accepting sunscreen submissions from the general public to test and review for benzene contamination.
SUR Clean Skincare products DO NOT contain any benzene.