Daily Briefing

Around the nation: Unilever recalls 19 dry shampoos over cancer risk


Unilever issued a voluntary recall of 19 aerosol dry-shampoo products due to cancer risk, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

  • District of Columbia: The death of six individuals who tested positive for monkeypox were recently confirmed by local health departments, with one death occurring in both Nevada and Maryland and two deaths reported by New York City and Chicago.The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene declared that "[e]very effort will be made to prevent additional suffering from this virus through continued community engagement, information-sharing and vaccination." The Chicago Department of Health (CDPH) said the two Chicagoans who died had several other health conditions, including weakened immune systems. "Though the number of new MPV cases has declined substantially since summer, this is a stark reminder that MPV is dangerous and can cause serious illness, and in very rare cases, even death," said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady. (Frehse et al., CNN, 10/23)
  • New Jersey: Unilever has issued a voluntary recall of 19 aerosol dry shampoo products due to cancer risk. The recalled products, which may contain elevated levels of benzene, were manufactured before October 2021 and sold under several brand names, including Dove, Nexxus, Suave, Rockaholic, Bed Head, and TRESemmé. According to FDA, "daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences." However, the agency noted that benzene exposure can lead to leukemia and other blood cancers. "Unilever U.S. is recalling these products out of an abundance of caution," the company said. "Unilever has received no reports of adverse events to date relating to this recall." (Edney, Los Angeles Times, 10/24; De Avila, Wall Street Journal, 10/24)
  • Rhode Island: CVS Health earlier this month announced plans to lower the cost of CVS brand tampons, menstrual pads, liners, and cups by 25%. CVS is also in a partnership with Period Law and PERIOD., which aims to eliminate the tampon tax or period tax, which refers to sales tax on period products. Currently, 22 states tax period products—down from 40 states in 2016. "While all 22 states enjoy a budget surplus, the tax revenue associated with menstrual products in most of these states is less than one one-hundredth of a percent of each state's total revenue," according to a press release from the organizations. "Purchases of period products should have been tax-exempt from the start, just like prescription drugs," said Period Law Executive Director Laura Strausfeld. "Due to lack of adequate representation in state legislatures when sales tax bills were passed, and the stigma around talking about menstruation, state governments have heedlessly bilked women out of billions of dollars on purchases of these medical necessities." (Melillo, "Changing America," The Hill, 10/21)

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