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CDA, Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada release joint statement on benzene from products containing BPO

The Canadian Dermatology Association, in collaboration with the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada, has issued a joint position statement regarding the recent findings of a research letter published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

On March 5, Valisure, an American lab that tests medications and consumer products, reported that benzoyl peroxide preparations, both prescription and over-the-counter, could produce substantial amounts of benzene when stored at above-ambient temperatures, such as in a hot car for example. Valisure's testing showed that a significant number of BPO products contained benzene levels exceeding the U.S. FDA's recommended threshold of 2 parts per million (ppm). They also noted that benzene, a known human carcinogen, may be released into the air.

While Health Canada is currently reviewing Valisure's findings and has not yet issued any recommendations, the goal of the CDA and the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada position statement, released on April 11, is to raise awareness of this development with patients.

“. . . use of these products remains a personal choice. If you do decide to continue using benzoyl peroxide containing acne products, avoid storage in hot environments such as hot cars and shower stalls and discard the product before its expiry date. Alternative options to benzoyl peroxide for acne are available including salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and retinoids. Consult with your healthcare professional for more details.”

The CDA and the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada report the organizations continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as more information becomes available from Health Canada and other regulatory bodies.


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