- The parent company of Dove, Suave, and TRESemmé voluntarily recalled certain dry shampoos last week.
- The dry shampoos might contain benzene, a commonly-used chemical found in gasoline and cigarette smoke.
- Some studies identified higher rates of blood cancer in people with high benzene exposure.
Dove, Bed Head, and TRESemmé dry shampoos were recalled last week after tests conducted by their parent company identified traces of a chemical linked to cancer.
Unilever, the parent company for many popular hair brands, said it found low levels of benzene in dry shampoos sold by Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI, and TRESemmé. The company issued a voluntary recall of these products in compliance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules.
Benzene is a natural component of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. The chemical is among the top 20 most-used chemicals, per the Centers for Disease Control. Industries use the chemical to help make plastic, synthetic fibers, rubbers, detergents, and dyes.
Some studies have identified higher rates of cancers that effect blood cells, like leukemia, in people exposed to a lot benzene.
One 2021 analysis of 2,000 peer-reviewed found higher rates of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or cancer that starts in the white blood cells, in people with an undefined “high exposure” to benzene. Another study from 2012, cited by the American Cancer Society, identified higher rates of leukemia in oil refining, chemical producing, and shoe-making workers exposed to high amounts of benzene
Research has not found a link between low-level exposure to benzene through cosmetics and cancer, but breathing in high doses of benzene can cause some short-term side effects, like dizziness and confusion, Healthline reports.
Unilever said the amount of benzene would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences, but the company is issuing a recall “out of an abundance of caution.”
“Benzene is ubiquitous in the environment,” per a release by the FDA. “Humans around the world have daily exposures to it indoors and outdoors from multiple sources.”
Unilever and the FDA have recommended consumers stop using affected aerosol dry shampoos, listed here. The list includes:
- Dove Dry Shampoo Ultra Clean
- Nexus Dry Shampoo Refreshing Mist
- Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo
- TRESemme Dry Shampoo Fresh and Clean
- Bed Head Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo
The government agency has asked retailers to remove these dry shampoos from their shelves. Unilever did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for additional comment.