NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Unilever is voluntarily recalling several of its brands of spray dry shampoo due to potentially elevated levels of the dangerous chemical benzene.

“Benzene is a well-known cancer-causing agent,” said Dr. Christopher Bunick, an associate professor of dermatology at Yale University. “Benzenes are well linked to blood cancers like leukemia.”

Courtesy: FDA

Unilever is recalling a total of 19 of its dry shampoo aerosol products.

Bunick, who has been researching benzene in commonly used products for years, said the chemical is not something that consumers will not find on the ingredients list.

“Benzene has no function,” he said. “It’s a true contaminant from the supply chain and manufacturing process.”

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the aerosol products involved were made before October 2021. FDA officials said exposure to benzene can happen by inhalation, orally or through the skin, and can result in cancers.

Retailers have been notified to remove recalled products from shelves.

In 2021, Proctor and Gamble voluntarily recalled more than 30 aerosol dry shampoos and conditioners over concerns over the levels of benzene. In April 2022, Suave voluntarily recalled some antiperspirants benzene was found in some samples. Some sunscreens were also voluntarily recalled this July due to the same concerns.

Bunick said spray products seem to be a target because of the propellants used to create aerosolization.

New Haven-based Valisure has produced research on the dangers of benzene in some products.

Bunick said there are ways to keep consumers safe from benzene.

“This is where manufacturers and the companies making these products need better quality control all the way through the supply chain and manufacturing process to protect consumers from contamination with benzene.”