June 21, 2024

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Health Canada ‘reviewing’ U.S. lab’s findings of benzene in acne products – National

2 min read

Less than a week after a U.S. lab said it detected benzene, a cancer-causing chemical, in several popular over-the-counter acne products, Health Canada said it is reviewing the findings.

On March 6, Valisure, an independent lab, reported that benzene can form at high levels in benzoyl peroxide products (used to treat acne) and that it found it in products from the brands it tested.

In an email to Global News on Monday, a Health Canada spokesperson said the department “has been made aware of the test results from Valisure, the U.S. laboratory. Health Canada is presently reviewing the findings.”

“Should it be determined that Benzoyl Peroxide-containing products that are currently marketed in Canada are implicated, the department will take immediate and appropriate action to inform Canadians on how to mitigate the risk.”

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The lab said it identified concerning levels of benzene in 66 acne treatment products containing benzoyl peroxide, incubated at 50 C for 18 days. Among the affected brands are Clearasil, ProActiv, Estee Lauder’s Clinique and Walmart’s Equate Beauty acne cream, among others.


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Benzoyl peroxide can break down into benzene.

Benzene exposure, by inhalation or absorption through the mouth or skin, can result in leukemia and blood disorders that can be life-threatening, Health Canada previously told Global News.


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Valisure filed a petition with the FDA requesting the agency recall and suspend the sale of products containing benzoyl peroxide and further examine the products and how they’re manufactured.

Health Canada said since Jan. 1 1965 until March 5, 2024, the department has received a total of 363 adverse reaction reports (177 serious and 186 non-serious) where a product containing the active ingredient “benzoyl peroxide” was suspected of causing an adverse reaction.

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The health department said it advises that Canadians should continue to follow the directions on product labels to support safe use.

Health Canada recommends that consumers speak with a health care practitioner such as a doctor or pharmacist in cases where they have any questions or concerns regarding the selection or use of a health product.

— with files from Global News’ Nathaniel Dove

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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