Two Suave Antiperspirant Sprays Recalled Over Carcinogen Risk

The aerosol sprays contain traces of benzene, which can cause cancer.

Jessica Rendall Wellness Writer
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Unilever, which owns the personal care brand Suave, said Wednesday that it's recalling two Suave aerosol antiperspirants because an internal review showed "slightly elevated levels of benzene," a carcinogen.

Lots of Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Powder and Suave 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Fresh with expiration dates through September 2023 are being recalled. The products come in 4 or 6 ounce cans and photos of the sprays can be found on Unilever's website, along with their product codes. 

Unilever is offering customers reimbursements if they have a recalled product, but you should stop using the product and dispose of the cans properly, the announcement said.

This recall includes only the two Suave antiperspirants, not other Suave or Unilever products. However, other antiperspirants and body sprays, as well as some sunscreens, have been recalled in recent months over benzene contamination. 

Benzene is widely used in the US, including in some types of lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents and more. It's also found in tobacco smoke and car exhaust. However, long-term exposure to high levels of benzene can cause cancer in the blood or other health concerns, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Because of its potential for harm, benzene shouldn't be used in drug products unless it's "unavoidable in order to produce a drug product with a significant therapeutic advance," says the Food and Drug Administration. Unilever said in the announcement that benzene isn't an ingredient in the antiperspirant, but that the benzene came from the propellant that sprays it out of the can. However, the company said there likely isn't enough of it to pose an immediate risk. 

"Based on an independent health hazard evaluation, daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences," Unilever said in the announcement.

Some recall announcements of antiperspirants, sunscreens and other products follow tests conducted by Valisure, an independent pharmaceutical testing company that's petitioned the FDA to recall some lots of products, as well as to update its guidance and regulation of benzene in drug and personal care products. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.