We're in the midst of a spell of overcast weather, so it's perfectly understandable that you're probably not thinking about your stock of sunblock. But before we get back to summer sunshine, take a look to see what brand(s) you may have.

You'll probably want to go with one that doesn't contain benzene.

Johnson & Johnson announced yesterday (Wednesday, July 14th) that they are recalling all lots of five Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen product lines to the consumer level, saying that "internal testing identified low levels of benzene in some samples of the products."

If you're anything like me, you've probably heard of benzene, but aren't quite sure what it is, what it does, and why you should worry about being exposed to it. So let's get to all of that.

The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) describes benzene as being a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable. Benzene evaporates into the air very quickly. Its vapor is heavier than air and may sink into low-lying areas. Benzene dissolves only slightly in water and will float on top of water.

They go on to point out that benzene is one of the top 20 most widely used chemicals in production volume, and is sometimes used in the processes that make plastics, resins, nylon and synthetic fibers, some types of lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides.

Not what you'd want in a sunblock.

Here's what Johnson & Johnson says you should look for (and most importantly, stop using immediately) when you check over your sunblock supply at home:

  • Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena CoolDry Sport aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena UltraSheer aerosol sunscreen

You can also get a refund by calling J&J’s Consumer Care Center at 1-800-458-1673.

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