You’ve likely read about the recent recall on some popular chemical sunscreens that contained low levels of benzene. A third party lab, Valisure tested about 294 sunscreen products and found 27 percent of the sunscreen and after-sun products contained benzene. Likely you’re concerned because we sure are! You may also be confused and have some questions, so we’re here to help.
What is Benzene and how did it get in these sunscreens?
Benzene is a known carcinogen and is not an ingredient normally found in sunscreen.
It’s a chemical naturally found in volcanoes and forest fires, and “a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke,” according to the CDC. As the CDC explains, it’s a chemical most people are likely exposed to every day, as the air we breathe contains low levels of it “from tobacco smoke, gas stations, motor vehicle exhaust, and industrial emissions.” It’s also used to make chemicals found in human-made products like plastics, dyes, and detergents, and is found in glue and paint. As to why it was found in some sunscreens; the FDA is still looking into this as it is still unknown, so until we have all the facts, we can’t know for sure.
What are my options then?
By using a mineral sunscreen like Goddess Garden, and reading the active (these should ONLY be non-nano Zinc and/or Titanium Dioxide) and inactive ingredients (just because it has Zinc and/or Titanium Dioxide doesn’t mean there aren’t still some nasty ingredients in the inactive ingredients) on the label, you can greatly reduce your risk to nasty chemicals. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, then you can look it up. Being an informed consumer is one of the best (and safest) things you can do to protect you and your family. At Goddess Garden, we truly care about what we put on our bodies and we are passionate about creating products with clean ingredients so you and your family can be safe.
Why are these chemicals so bad?
Chemical sunscreens already contain, well, chemicals and some of those chemicals like Oxybenzone can be toxic. The EWG has rated oxybenzone an 8 (with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst) on their toxicity rating scale, meaning it is one of the most toxic ingredients found in cosmetic products. The EWG and other toxicology experts are concerned about the compound because it has been linked to hormone disruption and has the potential to damage cells that may lead to skin cancer. Oxybenzone is also really toxic to the juvenile form of corals. When it washes off your body and into the ocean, the chemicals can cause “bleaching, deformities, DNA damage, and death in coral.
Despite studies and concern among the EWG and other experts, oxybenzone and some other chemical sunscreen ingredients like Avobenzone and Octinoxate remain FDA approved and are still widely used in chemical sunscreens and other cosmetics. In fact, as of January 1, 2021, Hawaii (the first US state to do so) has banned sunscreens containing Oxybenzone and Octinoxate leading the charge in banning toxic chemicals in sunscreens.
While we still don’t know how benzene got into some of those sunscreen products, we do have quite a bit of information on the active ingredients that are in chemical sunscreens and that is why we don’t use any of them. Never have and never will.
Shop our Mineral Sunscreens here.