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Banana Boat Recalls Sunscreen Due to Potential Cancer-Causing Chemical

Three batches of the brand’s Hair & Scalp sunscreens are a part of the recall.
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profile picture of Wyndi Kappes
Assistant Editor
Published
August 1, 2022
banana boat hair and scalp sunscreen spray recall 2022
Image: FDA

Popular sunscreen brand Banana Boat has voluntarily recalled its Hair & Scalp Defense sunscreen after low levels of the cancer-causing chemical benzene were detected during an internal review.

According to Edgewell Personal Care Company, the maker of Banana Boat sunscreens, only three batches of the sunscreen spray are affected by the recall. The company recommends that families with Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Defense sunscreens at home check their expiration dates and lot codes against the recalled batches posted on their website. Banana Boat will offer reimbursement for the products recalled and asks that recalled items be thrown out.

The sunscreen giant maintains that the benzene was not found in the formula itself but came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can. Classified as a human carcinogen, exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally and through the skin.

Although many Americans are exposed to low levels of benzene daily, in consistent high volumes, it can potentially lead to cancers, including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow. Banana Boat reports it has yet to receive any complaints from people who have used its Hair Scalp Defense sunscreen.

While the threat level may be low, parents are still understandably upset over the recall. The sunscreen is not specifically indicated for children under 6 months old, but several reviews on Banana Boat’s Hair & Scalp product page mention parents using the sunscreen to protect their children as they run around outside during summer pool and beach days. Parents worry that even at low levels in the bodies of their little ones, these chemicals could add up.

This isn’t the first time Banana Boat has faced backlash from parents. In 2017, the story of a 14-month-old baby went viral after a Newfoundland mother posted about the severe chemical burns she believed were caused by a Banana Boat spray sunscreen.

Since the incident, the Food and Drug Administration has expressed concerns about the use of spray sunscreen on children and now recommends that parents consult their pediatrician before using any new sunscreen.

If you are looking for safe alternatives to keep your baby protected from the sun this summer, check out these 11 sunscreens certified by the Environmental Working Group as the best options for baby.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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