Cancer-causing substance found in Clinique and Clearasil products

Reckitt defended the safety of its Clearasil products, arguing that the findings reflect unrealistic scenarios rather than real-world conditions

Valisure, an independent testing laboratory in the United States, issued an alert about the presence of a cancer-causing chemical, specifically benzene, in acne treatments from well-known brands such as Clinique and Clearasil.

This discovery adds to previous identifications of this compound in hand sanitizers, sunscreens, and dry shampoos, thus expanding the list of consumer products with concerning levels of this cancer-linked substance.

Valisure LLC, based in New Haven, Connecticut, has been responsible for filing a petition to the FDA for the withdrawal of affected acne treatments, all of which contain benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient.

This call comes after Valisure found benzene levels up to nine times higher than FDA guidelines in some of these products. The tests included a variety of treatment forms, including creams, lotions, gels, and washes, available both over-the-counter and by prescription.

Valisure’s findings: which brands show high levels of benzene

The most alarming results include a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide cream from Proactiv, which showed up to 1,761 parts per million of benzene, and similar products from Target and Clinique, which also exhibited elevated levels of the carcinogen.

These findings are particularly concerning considering acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting millions of people each year.

Valisure, known for its rigorous product research and collaboration with major healthcare systems, has emphasized the importance of surveillance and quality control in the pharmaceutical and personal care industry.

The presence of benzene in benzoyl peroxide products, according to Valisure President David Light, is due to the breakdown of benzoyl peroxide into benzene, a risk that he indicates has been known for some time.

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Brands Respond

Reuters reported that Estee Lauder shares experienced a 2% decline following revelations that benzene was found in various acne treatment products, including Proactiv, PanOxyl, Walgreens’ acne soap bar, and Walmart’s Equate Beauty acne cream, according to Valisure test reports.

This laboratory warned that benzene could form at unacceptably high levels in both prescription and over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide.

In response, Reckitt defended the safety of its Clearasil products, arguing that the findings reflect unrealistic scenarios rather than real-world conditions.

Estee Lauder asserted that its Clinique product using benzoyl peroxide is safe for intended use. Both Target and Walmart have not commented on Reuters’ inquiries, and the FDA has not yet responded to Valisure’s petition.

What is benzene?

Benzene, a natural component of gasoline and tobacco smoke, is known for its potential to cause leukemia in high concentrations.

Its detection in everyday products has raised concerns about the safety of household items and has prompted questions about FDA regulatory oversight of the industry.




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