By Kritika Arora
Hindustan Unilever (HUL), global FMCG giant Unilever’s India unit, on Tuesday said it does not manufacture dry shampoos in India. The company’s response comes after a recent notification posted by the US Food and Drug Administration’s website that Unilever, United States, had issued a voluntary product recall of select dry shampoo aerosol products under brands Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI, and TRESemmé due to potentially elevated levels of benzene.
“Unilever US and Canada voluntarily recalled select lot codes of dry shampoo produced prior to October 2021 out of an abundance of caution, after an internal investigation identified elevated levels of benzene. An independent health hazard evaluation concluded that levels of benzene detected do not pose a health risk. No other Unilever products or markets are impacted by this voluntary recall. HUL does not manufacture dry shampoos in India,” the Indian company said in a statement.
Unilever’s recalled products were distributed nationwide in the US and retailers have been notified to remove the said products from shelves.
Benzene is a chemical that can cause cancer. Exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin and it can result in leukaemia and blood disorders which can be life-threatening.
Based on an independent health hazard evaluation, daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences, according to the notification. Unilever US is recalling these products out of an ‘abundance of caution’, it said. Unilever has received no reports of adverse events to date relating to this recall, it added.
Several personal care products in the US like hand sanitisers, deodorants, dry shampoos, body sprays, conditioners, have been reportedly recalled in the last few months after they were discovered to be contaminated with benzene, according to an independent testing agency Valisure.
Procter & Gamble, Bayer, CVS and Johnson & Johnson have issued voluntary recalls for widely distributed brands, including Brut, Sure, Pantene, Neutrogena, Old Spice, Aveeno.
In India, the Maharashtra FDA in September had asked Johnson and Johnson to recall baby powder from the market as the pH values were higher than specified.
The company faces several lawsuits, especially in the US, from women alleging that the talc contains asbestos and causes cancer.