Cancerous Chemical Found in Clinique, Clearasil Acne Products

( – The CDC reports that benzene is a highly flammable chemical used by some industries in the United States to make other chemicals in product production. Natural sources of the cancer-causing substance are found in forest fires, volcanoes, crude oil, and gasoline. People can be exposed to it through industrial and car emissions, cigarette smoke, and gas stations — among other places.

On March 6, independent quality assurance company Valisure released a study claiming that a number of benzoyl peroxide acne products form benzene because they are unstable. The entity stated it conducted tests that prove the carcinogen can form at high levels in acne products consumers buy off the shelf and those available by prescription.

Valisure stated its tests showed that, at certain high temperatures, the product’s packaging can release benzene into the environment. That area allegedly includes the packaging itself, which is handled by customers and others.

Valisure named Proactiv and Equate Beauty products, in particular, in its Citizen Petition sent to the FDA. The missive requested the commissioner “issue a regulation,” adjust its guidance regarding acne products, issue a recall, and “suspend sales of benzoyl peroxide” in the US.

According to Reuters, some of the brands offering products with benzoyl peroxide include Up & Up from Target, Clearasil by Reckitt Benckiser, and Clinique by Estee Lauder. Reckitt reportedly released a statement following Valisure’s claim, stating its products are safe “when used and stored as directed on their labels.”

The company admonished the quality assurance entity for using “unrealistic scenarios” in its testing rather than what happens in real life. Estee Lauder also said its products were safe when used “as intended.”

Previous reports from Valisure about other possible carcinogens targeted sunscreens, dry shampoos, deodorants, and hand sanitizers, prompting recalls and new guidance from the FDA. It’s unclear what effect the new study will have on the beauty industry.

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