If you don't follow beauty industry news (we don't blame you), you may not have seen some unsettling news that came out recently about several popular aerosol deodorant and antiperspirant sprays. Procter & Gamble is recalling 18 of its Secret and Old Spice deodorant spray products after a harmful carcinogen, Benzene, was found in nearly 55% of spray deodorant samples tested.
What is Benzene?
Benzene is a known carcinogen that can cause serious health effects with long term exposure, according to the CDC. While we at Curie believe Benzene should never, ever be used at any level in commercial skincare products, the FDA allows it at small levels if it is "unavoidable". The Benzene concentration in the samples tested was roughly nine times the FDA-recommended limit. Yikes.
How did P&G discover Benzene in its products?
Well, friends, that's the problem. P&G didn't discover the Benzene. Valisure did. Valisure is an independent lab that conducts batch tests of popular products. Last month, Valisure ran an independent study and discovered Benzene levels that exceeded FDA-recommended limits in several of P&G's popular spray deodorants and antiperspirants.
Which products were recalled?
Procter & Gamble recalled 18 deodorant and antiperspirant spray products from its brands such as Secret, Old Spice, Suave, and others after internal testing also detected Benzene, according to a press release. The scary thing about these studies is we have no way of knowing how long customers of these products were being exposed to high levels of Benzene, so while it's great that these products are being recalled, it's too little too late. How long has customers been exposed? We don't know.
Why were only spray deodorants impacted?
This is not the first time Benzene has been discovered in aerosol spray products—earlier this year Valisure discovered Benzene levels above the FDA limit in 78 different aerosol sunscreen products, prompting a Johnson & Johnson recall. So you may be asking, why is aerosol such a problem child? Well, aside from emitting harmful greenhouse gases, aerosol products require certain gases to propel product, and those gases can be contaminated with Benzene. At Curie, our full body deodorant spray is non-aerosol for this reason. It is better for you, and better for the environment.
Should we be concerned about Curie deodorant spray?
No. At Curie, our full body deodorant spray is a manual pump spray, not an aerosol spray, which means it does not contain any of the propellant gases that can lead to Benzene contamination. This was a deliberate decision we made when we developed this product. Yes, it's not as convenient as the nice, fine mist that Axe Bodyspray popularized in the 90's, but it is safer for you and better for the environment, and that is a standard we are not willing to compromise on.
Each time a recall like this happens, it reminds us how important the work that we, and many other clean brands, are doing to protect consumers. If Valisure hadn't conducted this study, how much longer would Benzene levels nine times higher than the FDA's recommendations have continued to be used daily by millions of consumers? Would P&G have ever discovered this on their own? I think we all know the answer to that question.
Your skin is an organ. What goes on, goes in. Just because a product is sold on shelves at big-name stores, does not mean it is safe for your body. If you or a loved one are using any of the brands recalled, and you are unsettled by the idea of spraying carcinogens on your body, we recommend giving a non-aerosol, clean deodorant spray like Curie's a try.