Drug News

Debate Arises Over Safety of Benzoyl Peroxide in Acne Products Following High Benzene Levels Discovery

An independent laboratory’s petition to recall acne treatment products containing benzoyl peroxide (BP) due to high levels of the carcinogen benzene has sparked debates and uncertainty over the safety of these widely used products.

Valisure, based in New Haven, Connecticut, reported findings showing BP products exceeding FDA concentration limits of benzene by over 800 times in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP). David Light, CEO of Valisure, emphasized that this is not contamination but degradation, as BP can decompose into benzene, raising concerns about potential links to leukemia and other blood cancers.

Critics and companies have raised questions about Valisure’s testing methods, advocating for more “real-world” data. The US Pharmacopeia (USP) requested transparency regarding Valisure’s modified testing methods, underscoring the need for validation data.

Valisure defended its approach, asserting the necessity for products to demonstrate stability throughout their lifecycle. Dr. John Barbieri of Harvard Medical School expressed concerns about the lack of real-world testing data in Valisure’s reports and called for more transparency.

The uncertainty surrounding BP products has prompted calls for further investigation and transparency, as stakeholders seek clarity on the safety of these commonly used acne treatments.


Joan David-Leonhard

Joan David Leonhard is a recent Pharm.D graduate with a strong passion for the pharmaceutical industry and a particular interest in pharmaceutical media and communication. Her brief internship experience includes roles in pharmacy where she built strong patient-pharmacist relationships and a pharmaceutical media internship where she actively contributed to drug information articles, blog posts, social media engagement, and various media projects.
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