Benzene found in dry shampoos

  • IASbaba
  • November 11, 2022
  • 0
Science and Technology
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In News: Valisure, a New Haven, Connecticut-based analytical laboratory, tested 148 batches from 34 brands of spray-on dry shampoo and found that 70% contained benzene.


  • Valisure has found benzene, the cancer-causing chemical in popular spray sunscreens, antiperspirants and hand sanitizers.
  • The highest benzene levels among the dry shampoos were found in a popular brand called Not Your Mother’s.
  • Other brands found to have elevated benzene included Batiste, Sun Bum, John Paul Mitchell Systems and Church & Dwight Co.’s Batiste.
  • Dry shampoos are used to freshen up hair between washes.
  • The benzene levels are significantly higher in dry shampoos than any personal-care products.
  • Batiste, Not Your Mother’s and Dove are the top-selling dry shampoo brands in the US.
  • Dry shampoo usage has increased by 22% from a year earlier.


  • Benzene is a known contaminant of petroleum products.
  • Spray personal-care products, including dry shampoos, often contain propellants like propane and butane that are petroleum distillates made by refining crude oil.
  • The propane and butane used in personal-care products are supposed to be purified so that no benzene is present.
  • However, these propellants become a potential source of benzene contamination.
  • These chemical can cause certain blood cancers, such as leukaemia.
  • A spray from one can of dry shampoo contained 158 parts per million of benzene.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency has said inhaling benzene at levels of 0.4 parts per billion (.0004 parts per million) chronically over a lifetime could result in one additional cancer per 100,000 people, a measure of risk the FDA also uses.
  • Valisure determined it’s possible the actual benzene levels in spray-on dry shampoo could be 10 times to 50 times higher than what standard testing reveals.
  • The supply chains that bring consumers their grooming products are complex, globe-spanning endeavours, making it difficult to determine precisely where the toxins are introduce.
  • In drug applications, the FDA allows levels of 2 parts per million of benzene if “use is unavoidable”.
  • But FDA hasn’t set benzene limits for cosmetics.
  • However, it says the products shouldn’t contain “any poisonous or deleterious substance.”

About Benzene:

  • Benzene is a colourless or light-yellow liquid chemical at room temperature.
  • It is used primarily as a solvent in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, as a starting material and an intermediate in the synthesis of numerous chemicals, and in gasoline.
  • Benzene is produced by both natural and man-made processes.
  • It is a natural component of crude oil, which is the main source of benzene produced today.
  • Other natural sources include gas emissions from volcanoes and forest fires.
  • Cigarette smoke is another source of benzene exposure.
  • Benzene may also be found in glues, adhesives, cleaning products, and paint strippers.
  • Outdoor air contains low levels of benzene from second-hand tobacco smoke, gasoline fumes, motor vehicle exhaust, and industrial emissions.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Which of the following are the reasons/factors for exposure to benzene pollution?(2020)

  1. Automobile exhaust
  2. Tobacco smoke
  3. Wood burning
  4. Using varnished wooden furniture
  5. Using products made of polyurethane

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 4 only
  3. 1, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5


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