Cancer-causing chemical found in several popular dry shampoos still on store shelves

Published: Nov. 20, 2022 at 9:58 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - A cancer-causing chemical that has caused nationwide recalls has been found in several dry shampoos that are still in stores. Batiste and Not Your Mothers are a few popular ones. Experts say there isn’t a simple solution to avoid the chemical.

“It’s hard to certainly look on the labels for how you would avoid these,” said Dr. Stephen Lewellis, a dermatologist at Aspirus.

That’s because Benzene is a contaminant, so it’s not listed on the label. Dr. Lewellis said contaminants are often created through the manufacturing process.

“So the company may not even be aware and they likely aren’t aware that it’s there,” said Dr. Lewellis.

Valisure just finished a study on popular dry shampoo brands and found 70% of dry shampoo samples tested had benzene in them. Frequently inhaling benzene at levels of 0.4 parts per billion over time could cause cancer per 100,000 people, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

CBS News spoke to the FDA who said they are not responsible for the safety and quality of products.

“Cosmetic and consumer product industry is much less well regulated than for example the prescription drug industry. It’s a really complex global supply chain of what goes into making these products,” said Dr. Lewellis.

The FDA is encouraging companies that have products containing benzene to take them off the shelves, but for now, it’s up to people to try to avoid them.

“One thing that you could look to avoid is what’s called a propellant. A lot of these dry shampoos will have an additive that makes it propel into the air and makes it become aerosolized,” said Dr. Lewellis.

Dr. Lewellis recommends sticking to a powder and doing some research before consumers buy. He says the products you put on your skin and in your hair matter for your health.

“Be judicious about what you apply to your skin. ask your doctor if you’re concerned about it,” said Dr. Lewellis.

Also, keep in mind, different lots of the same dry shampoo made at different times could have varying levels of benzene in them.

This means the next dry shampoo you buy could have a completely different amount than the one you’re still using at home.

CBS has more information about products with benzene.

Click here to learn more about Valisure’s study and the list of dry shampoos they found to have cancer-causing amounts of the chemical.