Pain Reliever Spray Recalled Over Cancer-Causing Chemical, FDA Warns
You may want to check your medicine cabinet for this product.
Most of our medicine cabinets are full of all sorts of products that can help provide pain relief for minor cuts, scrapes, burns, sunburns, and more. But the next time you reach for a particular product, be extra careful: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now warning that one pain reliever spray is being recalled over a cancer-causing chemical.
On Dec. 22, the FDA shared a company announcement from Insight Pharmaceuticals regarding the latest medical recall. According to the alert, the company is "voluntarily recalling" one lot of its Americaine Benzocaine Topical Anesthetic Spray at the consumer level.
The affected product is the 20 percent maximum strength formula, which is packaged in white aerosol cans with teal caps. The recalled lot has the code 1A16420, which you can find located on the bottom of the can.
"Importantly, no other lots of Americaine 20 Percent Benzocaine Topical Anesthetic Spray (either before or after this batch code) are in the scope of this recall and may continue to be used by consumers safely and as intended," the company noted in its announcement.
But why is Insight Pharmaceuticals recalling this lot of its pain reliever spray? According to the recall announcement, the affected product's packaging was found to contain a cancer-causing chemical: benzene.
"While benzene is not an ingredient in any Americaine 20 Percent Benzocaine Topical Anesthetic Spray products, a recent review by our manufacturer and their third-party lab found that a sample from one lot of the product showed a low level of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can," the company explained.
As the FDA explains, "Benzene is a known human carcinogen that causes leukemia and other blood disorders." The agency has recently been evaluating the risk of benzene contamination in certain products, noting that several other aerosol drug products have been recalled because of contamination related to spray propellants.
"Exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin and it potentially can result in cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow and blood disorders which can be life threatening. Insight is recalling these products out of an abundance of caution," the company said in its recall announcement.
There have not yet been any serious adverse events related to the recall of the American Benzocaine Topical Anesthetic Spray. Still, Insight said it has notified retailers to remove any remaining recalled products from its shelves. The company has also agreed to "offer reimbursement for consumers" who have purchased their spray marked with the affected lot code.
You can contact Insight Pharmaceuticals with a picture of the bottom of the can to receive a full refund. "Consumers that have product which is being recalled should stop using the product immediately and appropriately discard after taking the picture," the company added. "Consumers should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using this anesthetic product."