Most of the recalls we look at here are for defective vehicles. In fact, we just posted a huge list of recalled cars earlier this week. Tap or click here to find out if yours is listed.

But sometimes food or personal products put your health at risk. This begs the question, how safe do you think using dry shampoo is? Most Americans don’t think twice when using this seemingly harmless product. That may just have changed.

Unilever, the maker of many of our favorite shelf brands, has officially recalled over a dozen aerosol dry shampoo products. Why? Benzene, a dangerous carcinogen, is the common denominator here. Here’s what you need to know.

Here’s the backstory

The convenience of dry shampoo is undeniable, but Unilever’s recall proves that even the most innocuous household products can harbor untold danger.

The recalled products in this list are due to the potential presence of benzene. Benzene is a human carcinogen and can cause cancer if exposed to significant amounts. These products are not believed to contain large amounts of benzene, but are being recalled as a precaution.

This product recall includes Unilever products in both the US and Canada. The products involved in the voluntary recall are as follows:

  • Dove Dry Shampoo Volume and Density.
  • Dove Fresh Coconut Dry Shampoo.
  • Dove Fresh and Floral Dry Shampoo.
  • Dove Ultra Clean Dry Shampoo.
  • Dove Invisible Dry Shampoo.
  • Dove Detox and Purify Dry Shampoo.
  • Dove Clarifying Charcoal Dry Shampoo.
  • Dove Go Active Dry Shampoo.
  • Nexxus Dry Shampoo Refreshing Mist.
  • Nexxus Inergy Foam shampoo.
  • Suave refreshing dry shampoo for hair.
  • Suave Professionals Refresh and Revive Dry Shampoo.
  • Tresemme Volumizing Dry Shampoo.
  • Tresemme Dry Shampoo Fresh and clean.
  • Tresemme Pro Pure Dry Shampoo.
  • Bed Head Oh Bee Hive Dry Shampoo.
  • Bed Head Oh Bee Hive Volumizing Dry Shampoo.
  • Bed Head Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo.
  • Bed Head Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo.

Fortunately, not a single customer has come forward with product-related complaints. The conglomerate basically pulled these products off the shelf as a precaution. If any of these products are in your home, stop using them as soon as possible.

What’s the deal with benzene?

In dry shampoo, benzene is used as a propellant. When used indoors, spraying benzene-rich products pollutes the home and has been shown to cause many health problems with frequent use.

By itself, benzene is a pale, transparent substance that is incredibly flammable. Derived from crude oil, you can find it in resin goods, plastics, nylon, rubber, and even pharmaceuticals, dyes, detergents, and pesticides.

Although benzene is a common compound in our modern world (it is also present in cigarette smoke), it is advisable to minimize your exposure to the chemical whenever possible.

How to avoid toxic chemicals in household products

Keeping your household safe and free of cancer-causing agents like benzene isn’t always easy. Sometimes the dangerous stuff isn’t even in the product formula.

A few ways you can avoid bringing harmful compounds home include:

  • Use home remedies like baking soda and vinegar instead of harsh cleaning products like bleach and other caustic chemicals.
  • Choose BPA-free packaging, best when shopping for food.
  • Replace plastic and rubber in your kitchen with glass and metal utensils and dishes.
  • Just say no to Teflon and other non-stick cookware.
  • Choose the unscented alternative whenever possible (brands like Dove usually offer something unscented and hypoallergenic for those with sensitive skin).

Air fresheners, hand sanitizers, and other amenities can come at a terrible price. Clean your home of things that could make you and your family sick, and of course, keep up with the latest when it comes to product recalls like the one above.

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Update: More shampoos found that contain cancer-causing ingredient