High Levels of Benzene Detected in Topical Acne Treatments, Urgent Call for FDA Recall!

Benzene is a carcinogenic chemical found in other tropical acne treatments
Benzene is a carcinogenic chemical found in other tropical acne treatments. Credit | Getty images

United States: Benzene, one known carcinogenic chemical, has been traced in other products, including acne medications with a topical nature.

Petition to request FDA recall the chemical

Valisure, a highly reputable Connecticut-based analytical laboratory, has issued a citizen’s appeal to the US Food and Drug Administration, publicly stating their discovery of the presence of ‘high levels of benzene‘ in acne products, including popular brands like Proactiv, Clearasil, PanOxyl and Clinique.

An urgent petition was done by the company to have benzoyl peroxide recalled and suspended from the US market by the FDA. The health hazards of benzene include fatal ones that can occur even when you are exposed to this chemical.

According to Valisure, the high concentrations of benzone are due to the process of benzoyl peroxide degradation through assembling with other substances in compositions of acne dressings –not because of benzoyl peroxide contamination in manufacturing. Among the most critical observations made in its testing, Valisure found an increase in levels of above recommended levels of heavy metals at high temperatures.

The highest enrichment was produced by subjecting samples to 37°C (98.6 °F), 50°C (122°F), and 70 °C (158°F) heat. On the other hand, Valisure’s president, David Light, commented about benzene levels at higher temperatures to CBS News. He stated that the drug could be exposed to prolonged heat in settings such as a car on a hot day or a bathroom where there is humidity from the shower.

In a statement by the FDA, “the agency acts on information provided from a variety of sources, such as that provided by Valisure, but such data must be verified as accurate and reproducible before it can be utilized to make regulatory decisions such as recommending product sale suspensions and recalls. The agency will continue to provide updates to the public regarding benzene in drug products, as appropriate.”

Furthermore, “When we respond to the petition, we will respond directly to petitioner and post the response in the designated Agency public docket,” as CBS News stated.

Effects on its consumers

Although health workers have proved that long exposure to high levels of benzene in the atmosphere causes leukemia, there is no link between the conventional use of this acne medication and the increased risk of blood disorders, just like the ones mentioned.

Benzoyl peroxide has long been approved for acne treatment, and it has been more than 60 years since its initial approval. Other than that, there are a variety of acne cleaners.

According to Yale School of Medicine dermatologist Dr. Christopher Bunick – acne treatments that work with active ingredients that are free of benzoyl peroxide are accessible, like the ones containing salicylic acid. Whether or not it is advisable for patients to use products according to a doctor`s recommendation is a question that should be asked of healthcare providers.

He added, “Benzoyl peroxide could be as low as 1 percent, 2.5 percent or as high as 10 percent in different products. … It may not matter that if you’re at the low end of the benzoyl peroxide concentration, some of those products may have higher benzene formation than the 10%,” as CBS News reported.

Further adding, “It’s about the formulation. It’s about some of the other molecules that are combined with the benzoyl peroxide that destabilizes it. So the percentages won’t tell you.”