We all have bad hair days, and sometimes we just want to spray our roots with dry shampoo and put our hair up to avoid dealing with it. But although dry shampoo might help you stretch your days in between washes, it might not be great for your health, according to a new report. Valisure, an independent laboratory investigated the chemicals in dry shampoo and found that benzene, a chemical linked to cancer, was in several brands of dry shampoo.
According to CTV News, Valisure sent a citizen petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), detailing how they examined 34 different dry shampoo brands and in 148 batches, 70 per cent of samples showed “quantifiable” levels of benzene — 11 samples showed levels over 10 times more than 2 parts per million, which is past the FDA concentration limit.
Related: Chemicals in hair-straightening products linked to an increased risk of uterine cancer: Study.
What is benzene and why is it harmful?
According to the CDC, benzene is a chemical that is very flammable and can be colourless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. It’s harmful because it can cause your cells not to work correctly — the CDC explains that it “can cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells, which can lead to anemia” and can damage immune systems “by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells.”
You can be exposed to benzene by inhaling it, ingesting it or even absorbing it through skin contact.
Related: 10 best clean nail polishes to try this fall.
What dry shampoo products should you avoid?
Last month, several dry shampoo products from brands including Dove and TRESemmé were recalled by Health Canada due to benzene. “Daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences,” Health Canada said.
The full list of recalled products is available on the Canadian government’s website.
“The detection of high levels of benzene in dry shampoos should be cause for significant concern since these products are likely used indoors, where benzene may linger and be inhaled for prolonged periods of time,” said David Light, Chief Executive Officer of Valisure.
“These and other issues identified by Valisure, including the detection of benzene in body spray, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen products, strongly underscore the importance of independent testing and its need to be better integrated into an increasingly complex and vulnerable global supply chain,” he added.
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