Benzene testing results
Valisure's research identified elevated benzene levels in two Suave brand deodorants, in one instance reported at more than double the concentrations deemed acceptable by the FDA.
- Suave 24-hour protection Powder - 5.21 ppm avg.
- Suave 24-hour protection Fresh - 2.30 ppm avg.
Other tested batches of Unilever-owned deodorants under the Suave, Axe, Degree, and Dove brands showed decreased but still identifiable benzene levels under 2 parts per million.
- Suave - 24-hour protection Powder - 0.97 ppm avg.
- Axe - Better Than The Hype - below 0.10 ppm
- Degree - MotionSense, Sexy Intrigue - below 0.10 ppm
- Dove - Advanced Care, Nourished Beauty - below 0.10
- Dove - Advanced Care, Original Clean - below 0.10 ppm
- Dove - Advanced Care, Clear Finish - below 0.10 ppm
- Dove - Men+Care, Clean Comfort - below 0.10 ppm
- Dove - Men+Care, Invigorating, Lime + Sage - below 0.10 ppm
- Dove - Men+Care, Refreshing Eucalyptus + Birch - below 0.10 ppm
- Dove - Men+Care, Stain Defense - below 0.10 ppm
Not all of Unilever's products were affected by contamination, as Valisure's testing didn't find any signs of benzene in several tested product batches.
- Axe - Apollo
- Axe - Dry Spray, Non-Stop Hustle, Don’t Sweat it - Smell Fresh, 48 H Dry
- Axe - Dry Spray, On Your Grind, Don’t Sweat It - Smell Fresh, 48 H Dry
- Axe - Phoenix, Body Spray
- Axe - Phoenix, Dry Spray, 48 H Dry
- Axe - Signature, Night, 48 Anti Marks Protection
- Degree - Advanced Protection, 72 H Dry Spray, Powder
- Degree - Advanced Protection, 72 H Dry Spray, Passion
- Degree - MotionSense, Dry Spray, Cool Rush, 48 H
- Degree - MotionSense, Dry Spray, Ultraclear, Black+White
- Dove - Men+Care, Dry Spray, Clean Comfort, 48 HR + Comfort
- Dove - Men+Care, Dry Spray, Extra Fresh, 48 HR + Comfort
- Suave - 24-Hour Protection, Powder, Instantly Dry, Dry Spray
- Suave - Coconut Kiss, Instantly Dry, Dry Spray
Unilever recalls benzene-contaminated products
On March 30, 2022, four months after Valisure's report, Unilever issued a voluntary recall of two Suave brand products. An internal review identified "slightly elevated levels of benzene" that resulted from propellants used in aerosol sprays.
The company also noted that it ceased the product line's manufacturing in October 2021.
- Suave - 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Powder | 4 oz. & 6 oz.
- Suave - 24-Hour Protection Aerosol Antiperspirant Fresh | 6 oz.
Despite the company's delayed recall, product safety is ultimately the manufacturer's responsibility, leading scandalized consumers to file class actions complaints against Unilever, who may face strict liability, product liability, and negligence claims, like:
- defective design
- manufacturing defect
- failure to warn
- improper warning labels
- consumer fraud
- deceptive trade practices
- negligence per se
- gross negligence
- fraudulent concealment
- fraudulent misrepresentation
- negligent misrepresentation
- breach of implied warranties
On July 24, 2022, a federal judge ruled that the plaintiffs' unjust enrichment and consumer fraud claims against Unilever were justified and denied the company's motion to dismiss the case entirely.