Cancer-Causing Benzene Found in Dry Shampoos by Procter and Gamble

As of December 17, 2021, the hair product and cosmetic company Procter and Gamble has announced a recall of several aerosol dry conditioner and shampoo products from the following brands:

  • Waterless (styled Waterl<ss)
  • Aussie
  • Herbal Essences
  • Pantene
  • Old Spice
  • Hair Food

The recall was voluntary.  There may be a risk of health complications that you should be aware of if you purchased these recalled products.

Benzene and Health Risks

The above aerosol dry conditioners and shampoos were recalled because of high concentrations of benzene in some of the products’ propellant. Benzene is often considered to be a dangerous compound because it is a human carcinogen, which is a type of compound that can lead to cancer.

However, traces of benzene are ubiquitous in the natural environment, so it’s not always life-threatening. All people have daily exposure to benzene both indoors and outdoors from sources like food, water, and the air.

Procter and Gamble have not yet received any reports for adverse health effects related to their aerosol dry product recall. However, the company is going through with the recall out of an abundance of caution since they found unexpected levels of benzene in tests.

Benzene is not an intended ingredient in any of Procter and Gamble’s products, such as conditioners, deodorants and antiperspirants, sunscreen, haircare products, and aerosol dry shampoo spray products. Therefore, it’s likely the cancer-causing chemical made it into the affected products at some point of the manufacturing process. Nevertheless, benzene was found in these products and they are no longer safe for use. 

Potential Consequences of High Benzene Exposure

According to the FDA, exposure to high levels of benzene can occur through direct inhalation, through oral consumption, or through skin absorption. Regardless of the absorption method, benzene may result in the formation of cancers and health conditions such as:

  • Leukemia
  • Blood cancer of the bone marrow
  • Blood disorders

Which Products Are Included in the Procter & Gamble Recalls? 

Procter and Gamble has set a voluntary recall of several of their aerosol dry conditioner spray products, including:

  • Waterless Dry Conditioner Weightless Smooth, 3.6 ounces
  • Pantene Never Tell Dry Shampoo, 3.9 ounces
  • Aussie Sleekend Warrior Dry Conditioner, 4.9 ounces
  • Herbal Essences Blue Ginger Refresh Dry Shampoo, 4.9 ounces
  • Hair Food Coconut Dry Shampoo, 4.9 ounces
  • Old Spice Fiji Dry Shampoo, 4.9 ounces

You can find a complete breakdown and full list of all the affected products (based on brand and product number) at this FDA resource.

What to Do if You Purchased and Used the Recalled Products?

If you used any of the aerosol dry conditioners and/or shampoos, you may have exposed your skin, hair, or other tissues to high levels of benzene.

But it is important to remember that the only potential health hazard comes when high levels of benzene are absorbed in big concentrations.

Procter and Gamble have not recorded any health issues to date, although some recorded health problems may arise as the recall continues. If you are diagnosed with any of the conditions mentioned above after having used these products for an extended period of time, contact a products liability attorney to discuss your situation.  

What if You Want to Return the Products per the P&G Recalls?

At the time of this writing, Procter and Gamble’s company is offering full refunds for any customers who have purchased the above products. You should stop using and discard the aerosol dry conditioner spray products and shampoo products immediately, even if you don’t plan to take advantage of the reimbursement.

To claim the reimbursement, you’ll need to visit each brand’s specific website and follow specific instructions. These websites are:

Alternatively, you can contact Procter and Gamble’s consumer care team from Monday to Friday and from 9 AM to 6 PM Eastern Time at the phone number 1-888-604-3631.

What if You Have had a Medical Problem?

In that case, you should immediately submit a report to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program. You can do this online by following this link or you can download a form and mail or fax it to the appropriate address. Call 1-800-332-1088 for more information.

Is Procter and Gamble Liable for a Lawsuit?

If individuals are injured due to the benzene contained in Procter and Gamble products, the company may be liable for product liability lawsuits. Product liability negligence means that a product manufacturer either:

  • Negligently or improperly manufactured a dangerous product,
  • Negligently or improperly tested a product for dangers,
  • Negligently allowed hazardous materials to enter a product in the manufacturing process and/or
  • All of the above.

Furthermore, a company like Procter and Gamble may be liable for a lawsuit if they provide inadequate directions for the use of a product such that they are responsible for an injury.

Technically, any benzene-related injuries or medical complications that arise from the above products could be Procter and Gamble’s fault. Therefore, individuals who believe they developed cancer or other health issues because they used these conditioners or shampoos may be able to sue Procter and Gamble for compensation to cover medical bills, loss of income,  pain and suffering and more.

Contact Product Liability Lawyers Today

Although victims of benzene poisoning may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against Procter and Gamble, there’s no guarantee you will win. Having experienced attorneys on your side is important so that you stand the best chance of obtaining the maximum amount of compensation possible.

The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP is here to help. With decades of experience handling product liability, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases, we’re well equipped to handle your case. If you have developed cancer that you believe is related to your benzene exposure,  contact us today for a free consultation.

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