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Hand Sanitizer Called Out for Toxins Issues Recall

Scentsational Soaps & Candles issues voluntary recall a month after a startup pharmacy alerted the FDA to chemical linked to blood cancers.
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More than a month after a private pharmacy alerted the Food and Drug Administration to hand sanitizers containing unsafe levels of a chemical linked to blood cancers, one of the companies on the list has issued a voluntary recall. 

Scentsational Soaps & Candles said on Wednesday that it’s recalling several lots of its Scentsational Soaps & Candles scented hand sanitizers and additional lots of its Ulta Beauty Collection-scented Hand Sanitizer sprays that are packaged in 3.38- and 3.4-fluid ounce spray bottles. 

Testing had revealed the sanitizers contain benzene, acetaldehyde and methanol – or wood alcohol. These products were distributed through Ulta Beauty  (ULTA) - Get Ulta Beauty Inc. Report, TJ Maxx ( (TJX Companies) ), and Marshalls stores.

In late March, the startup pharmacy Valisure posted a petition that showed its labs found dangerous levels of benzene – which is linked to blood cancers – in more than a dozen brands of germ-killing gels. Scentsational Soaps & Candles was near the top of the list.

“One of the lots recalled was tested by us and contained over 13 parts per million of benzene,” said Alexandra Jirstrand, a spokesperson for Valisure.

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Benzene is widely used in the making of plastics, dyes, detergents and other products, but its use is heavily restricted because it’s a known carcinogen linked to the development of leukemia and other cancers of blood cells.

Another company at the top of Valisure’s list of products containing benzene was ArtNaturals, which had the highest levels of benzene, according to Valisure. It had earlier claimed to TheStreet, however, that its products were clear of the contaminant.

“Simply put, the inaccurate article publishing results about our product was 100% wrong,” said the company in a statement earlier this month. 

 Valisure, however, said it stood by its test results of batches of the product, and ArtNaturals did not respond to followup questions. 

Some universities, including Harvard and Yale, have since pulled the products from their campuses or requested they not be used.