Banana Boat Recalls Multiple Sunscreens Due To Cancer-Causing Chemical—And They're Not The Only Brand Using This Ingredient

We've been told for years that we need to slather ourselves with sunscreen if we want to prevent cancer. However, more and more evidence is coming out proving that traditional sunscreen itself, such as Banana Boat, contains chemicals that can cause cancer.

By Gina Florio2 min read
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Ever since we were children, we were told by parents and adults to apply sunscreen as much as possible if we're going to go out in the sun. Whether it was for soccer games or playing in the pool, we were instructed to slather on the sunscreen to protect ourselves from cancer. But the conventional types of sunscreen that are made readily available to us all over the country are actually quite toxic. Reportedly, the popular sunscreen brand Banana Boat has had to recall a few batches of its product due to cancer-causing toxins.

Banana Boat Recalls Multiple Sunscreens Due to Cancer-Causing Chemical—and They're Not the Only Brand To Do So

We're told in various different contexts to "trust the science," whether it's taking the coronavirus vaccine or preventing the sun from giving us deadly cancer. But what if the very things that experts keep pushing on us are actually making us sick? Banana Boat's parent company, Edgewell Personal Care (which also owns Playtex and Energizer Bunny Manufacturing), has issued a voluntary recall of four batches of sunscreen spray that had a protection factor of SPF 30. No other Banana Boat products have been recalled at the moment.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning on January 27 to warn consumers about a certain dangerous chemical found in the sunscreen sprays. The products are called Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Spray SPF 30, and they contained trace levels of benzene. This toxic chemical was not used in the making of the sunscreen, but reviews showed that unexpected levels of benzene came through the propellant that sprays the sunscreen out of the aerosol can.

"Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen," the FDA stated. "Exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin, and it potentially can result in cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow and blood disorders which can be life-threatening."

"To date, Edgewell has not received any adverse events related to this recall. Benzene is ubiquitous in the environment. Humans around the world have daily exposure to it indoors and outdoors from multiple sources. Daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences according to an independent health assessment using established exposure modeling guidelines."

We are all exposed to benzene in some way on a daily basis, but being exposed to higher amounts of it can cause harmful effects on our health. Some symptoms of being exposed to too much benzene include dizziness, headaches, and unconsciousness. Banana Boat announced it will offer a reimbursement to consumers who have purchased this product with a matching lot code listed in the FDA letter. "Consumers should stop using the affected product immediately and appropriately discard," the notice said.

But Banana Boat certainly isn't the only brand that contains benzene (or any other toxic chemicals). An article published in Health reported that benzene has been found in 78 different batches of popular sunscreen products. Valisure LLC filed a citizen petition on May 24, 2021 after analyzing 294 unique batches of sunscreen and finding that 27% (78 of them) had detectable levels of benzene. In fact, Valisure claimed that 40 of those batches contained such high levels of benzene that they should be recalled. The products include Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Weightless Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100 and Sun Bum's Cool Down Gel.

This isn't to say that you should never use any sunscreen or protective covering when you go out in the sun for prolonged periods of time. However, it does mean that many of the standard sunscreens you might see at the drugstore are likely full of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that could cause a serious effect on your health. Search for more natural options or if you choose not to use sunscreen at all, be sure to use protective clothing or just expose yourself to direct sunlight in short bursts of time.