Recalls have been issued for some Old Spice and Secret deodorant products due to the possible presence of benzene contamination. Benzene is a carcinogen that is often the cause of recalls in the antiperspirant industry. The companies' parent company, Proctor & Gamble, announced this new recall on Tuesday, Nov. 23.
The recall applies to Old Spice and Aerosol Spray products, as well as Old Spice Below Deck aerosol spray sold in the U.S. The recall goes from production down to "the consumer level," meaning anyone who has recently purchased Old Spice or Secret aerosol sprays can return them to the company for a full refund or simply destroy them, but they are advised not to use any such products without at least checking the list of affected UPC codes on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's website. The full list of sizes and scents impacted by the recall is there as well.
According to the FDA, benzene is carcinogenic to humans if it is inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin – as it could be with an aerosolized deodorant. In studies published by the EPA, it has been linked to cancers of the blood, bone marrow and forms of leukemia, as well as other blood disorders which can be life-threatening.
The recall notes that benzene is ubiquitous in the environment and most people get some exposure to it throughout their lives, but daily doses of the chemical in concentrations this high could be dangerous. However, so far, there have been no reports of adverse health effects from this batch of contaminated products.
The recall applies to a total of 18 products identified by their UPC codes, and Proctor & Gamble is recalling all of those products with an expiration date through September of 2023. Retailers have been contacted to remove the products from their shelves, and customers in possession of recalled products are advised to "appropriately discard the affected aerosol spray products."
The FDA advises consumers who have used these products to contact their physician if they have experienced any adverse effects or symptoms of the ailments listed above. It also directs customers to the MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program, set up for just such an occasion. More information is available on the FDA's landing page for this recall, along with more contact information for the agency and the company.