The next time you find yourself reaching for your favorite dry shampoo, you may want to check the label. Procter & Gamble—the parent company behind go-to brands like Head & Shoulders, Aussie, and Pantene has issued a voluntary recall (as of December 17th) for more than 30 dry shampoos and dry conditioners across several of its brands, due to benzene, a known cancer-causing agent.
P&G Issues Voluntary Recall of Aerosol Dry Conditioner Spray Products and Aerosol Dry Shampoo Spray Products https://t.co/WHMKzrNrNm pic.twitter.com/9jq7uUnACI— U.S. FDA Recalls (@FDArecalls) December 20, 2021
According to P&G’s recall statement issued by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the recalled items do not contain high enough levels of benzene to pose any health concerns for people. And while the company has noted that they have not “received any reports of adverse events,” they conducted this recall out of “an abundance of caution.”
Now, before you freak out and decide to steer clear of all dry shampoo for the time being, there are a couple things that you need to know about this recall.
What Caused the Recall?
According to P&G, the company began reviewing their “total portfolio” of aerosol products after recent reports indicated that trace amounts of benzene exists in some aerosol spray products.
“While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our products, our review showed that unexpected levels of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can. We detected benzene in aerosol dry shampoo spray products and aerosol dry conditioner spray products.”
After this discovery was made, the company moved forward with the recall and alerted retailers to remove these products from their store shelves.
So, What Exactly is Benzene?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), benzene is a naturally occurring chemical that evaporates in the air quickly and dissolves only slightly in water. It’s colorless or light yellow in appearance, has a sweet odor, and is very flammable. As for what makes it so dangerous? Well, as P&G’s recall notice states, “Exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin and it can result in cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow and blood disorders which can be life-threatening.”
What Brands Are Affected By the Recall?
The six P&G brands at the center of the recall include Pantene, Aussie, Herbal Essences, Waterless, Old Spice, and Hair Food. Pantene has nine recalled products which include their Mist Behaving Dry Conditioning Mist in various sizes, a luxury mist, a conditioning oil, and three dry shampoos. Aussie also has nine recalled items including seven dry shampoos and two dry conditioners. Herbal Essences has five recalled dry shampoos. Other recalled items to note are six Waterless products, two Old Spice dry shampoos and one Hair Food dry shampoo.
Each recalled product came packaged in an aerosol canister that were produced between January 2019 and June 2021. To see a full list of the recalled products, including the production code numbers affected by the recall, be sure to visit P&G’s website.
How Can I Tell If My Product Has Been Recalled?
The best way to tell if your dry shampoo or dry conditioner has been affected is to check its production code (which is found at the bottom of the spray cans) against the production codes named in the recall. According to P&G, “the first four numbers of the production code are the only ones necessary to determine if your product is impacted and falls within the ranges outlined.” If you do have a recalled product, the company advises you to stop using the items immediately and throw them away.
Can I Be Refunded For My Item?
There is some good news: P&G is offering a full reimbursement to consumers who have purchased products that have been impacted by the recall. For anyone interested in getting a full refund, the company advises reaching out to their Customer Care team via online form or by calling their hotline at 1-888-674-36319 Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm est.
What About Non-Recalled Products?
Now it’s more than likely that you or someone you know uses other products from these brands that haven’t been mentioned in the recall. If so, there’s no need to be concerned. In fact, P&G advises that you can continue to use these products as intended, including dry shampoo sprays that haven’t been affected by the recall notice. “The vast majority of our products are not part of this recall including mousses, hairsprays, liquid shampoos, liquid conditioners, styling products, treatments, and unaffected aerosol dry shampoo sprays.
For more information about this recall, be sure to head over to P&G’s website. In addition, if you experience adverse reactions to any of P&G’s recalled products, be sure to contact FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program, either by calling 1-800-332-1088 or online.