Benzene contamination levels in deodorants

By Treven Pyles

Posted on September 15th, 2022

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently recalled some of the most popular cancer-causing spray deodorants and antiperspirants sold in U.S. retail stores. Over 40 different deodorant products were found to contain benzene, a well-known carcinogen that the FDA categorized as a class one solvent with "unacceptable toxicity."

While benzene is sometimes tolerated at a 2 parts per million (ppm) concentration in certain drugs with therapeutic uses, this does not apply to deodorants. However, the presence of benzene in body spray products is unintentional and most likely the result of contamination during the manufacturing process through body-spray propellants, such as:

  • butane
  • isobutene
  • hydrofluorocarbon 152a
  • alcohol
  • propane

Many of the tested product samples contained nearly nine times the FDA-admissible limit, their adverse effects on human health being linked to an increased risk of chronic exposure and, ultimately, cancer development.

Reported amounts of benzene in body spray products detected at 2.00 ppm or higher

Benzene was found in 30 distinct brands of contaminated 24h, 48h, or 72h spray deodorants and antiperspirants, like Secret, Old Spice, Tag, Equate, Suave, Sure, Brut, Right Guard, with a total of:

  • 21 lots with detectable benzene less than 0.1 ppm
  • 14 lots with detectable benzene between 0.20 and 1.89 ppm
  • 24 lots exceeding 2.00 ppm

The highest contamination levels of products owned by these brands were between 2.24 and 17.7 ppm, with Old Spice Pure Sport being the most harmful. More 24h deodorants at the top of the list include:

  • Secret - Powder Fresh, 24hr Aerosol - with avg.16.2 ppm
  • Tag - Midnight, Fine Fragrance Body Spray, Long Lasting Scent - with avg.14.1 ppm
  • Sure - Lasts All Day, Unscented, Aerosol - with avg. 11.1 ppm
  • Old Spice - Below Deck, Powder Spray, Feel Drier & Cleaner, Down Below, Fresh Air - with avg. 6.52 ppm
  • Suave - 24 Hour Protection, Powder, Aerosol - with avg. 5.21 ppm
  • Brut - Classic, 24 Hr Protection - with avg. 4.13 ppm

Some of the most contaminated 48h deodorant products are:

  • Right Guard - Sport, Fresh, Up To 48 HR Odor Protection - with avg. 5 ppm
  • Secret - Cool Light & Airy Smooth Feel, Dry Spray, 48 Hour Freshness, Rose - with avg. 4.85 ppm
  • Equate - Dry Spray, Cucumber - with avg. 6.15 ppm

Other product batches were tested, including Degree - Advanced Protection, 72 H Dry Spray, Powder - but benzene was not detected through initial analysis. Some of the toxic benzene-containing products have been recalled over the past year. Nevertheless, consumers are advised to immediately stop using these 24h, 48h, or 72h deodorants.

Our experienced legal team can help you file a benzene deodorant claim

The presence of carcinogens in personal-care products sparked massive consumer outrage, generating lawsuits filed by consumers exposed to contaminated deodorants. Environmental Litigation Group's team of legal experts has helped numerous clients over the years receive the compensation they were entitled to following the use of faulty products.

If your chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, or acute myeloid leukemia diagnosis is connected to past benzene exposure, we can determine your claim's eligibility and pursue reparations on your behalf.