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Johnson & Johnson Sunscreens Pulled off Pharmacy Shelves

After Johnson & Johnson announced it had found a cancer-causing ingredient in some samples, pharmacy chains CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and retailer Walmart Inc began withdrawing Johnson & Johnson sunscreen products from their shelves. In addition, Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled five Neutrogena and Aveeno brand aerosol sunscreens on Wednesday, advising consumers to cease using and discard the items after internal testing revealed low quantities of benzene in some of the sprays.

The recall comes two months after an internet pharmacy issued a similar warning. Valisure submitted a petition with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claiming that it had discovered levels of benzene in over a dozen products that give protection or relief from sunburns, such as sprays and lotions that were higher than recommended.

Walmart announced on Thursday that it had begun removing the impacted items from its stores and that consumers who had purchased them could return them for a refund. CVS and Walgreens stated they were following the recall’s instructions. CVS also said that sales of two of its sunburn-relieving medications, which were mentioned in Valisure’s petition, had been discontinued.Two privately held companies, the fruit of the Earth and Sunbeam, were also discovered to have benzene levels above the permissible range. Reuters reached out to the two companies for comment, but they did not answer right away. Benzene is a chemical that, depending on the quantity and extent of exposure, can cause cancer.

Johnson & Johnson, whose stock fell 1.2 percent to $168.37, said benzene is not an ingredient in its sunscreen products and that the source of the contamination is being investigated. Neutrogena Beach Defense, Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport, Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer, and Aveeno Protect + Refresh are among the J&J sunscreens have been recalled.

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