New Yorkers and other customers across the US said on Thursday they were shocked and dismayed over Johnson & Johnson’s recall of five potentially cancer-causing sunscreens.
“I feel upset and betrayed and wondering if I’m okay just sitting here with all of it on me,” said Elisabeth Oliveri, 41, of Queens, who had coated herself with Neutrogena UltraSheer aerosol — one of the brands the firm warned customers to stop using.
Oliveri, who was soaking up rays with her husband, Jason Oliveri, 40, on the Coney Island shoreline said she wants the company to alert customers in shops that the sunblock isn’t safe.
“There should be signs on the stores and places where they sold it. I always thought active recalls were more public than this… I’m not seeing anything at my drugstores,” she said.
Sunbather Farha Hussain, 22, of Brooklyn, added, “It’s ironic that something that’s supposed to protect me from skin cancer might give me cancer.”
She added, “I’m probably just going to stop using it.”
Johnson & Johnson said Thursday it’s recalling five of its Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreens after finding low levels of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical, in some samples.
But beach buffs blamed the company for failing to do more testing before releasing the products.
“People purchase Neutrogena a lot because it’s supposed to be the best and this and that. I feel like they should have done more research,” said Nilda Rosado, 52, of Williamsburg, who was tanning in her beach chair. “I bought this thinking it was top of the line.”
And some customers raised alarms about whether other J&J products were safe.
“Same company that tells us their COVID vaccine is safe. They can’t even make sunscreen right,” one Twitter user fumed.
Another observer added, “Interesting that the scientists don’t mention it until it’s made millions for them first. Then it’s “oops”. Sorry about that.”
The recall includes the Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen, and four Neutrogena sunscreens: Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen, CoolDry Sport aerosol sunscreen, Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen and UltraSheer aerosol sunscreen.
The company said they are investigating how the benzene got into their product.
“Daily exposure to benzene in these aerosol sunscreen products at the levels detected in our testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement Wednesday. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling all lots of these specific aerosol sunscreen products.”