If you are using Banana Boat sunscreen, you may want to stop, at least for the moment.
Spray-on versions of Banana Boat sunscreen sold from January 2010 through Sept. 20, 2012 are being voluntarily recalled across Canada and the U.S by Energizer Holdings following reports of five consumers catching on fire after applying the product and being in the proximity of an open flame.
Two types of continuous spray sunscreen are being recalled in Canada: Banana Boat Ultra Defense SPF 60 Spray Sunscreen and Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 60 Spray Sunscreen.
In the U.S, the recall is much larger with a total of 23 versions of UltraMist products being recalled.
How are people self-igniting? According to a press release issued by the company this week, the spray valve of Banana Boat’s UltraMist product seems to be applying too much product-more than is typical in the industry-and as a result, the lotion is taking longer to dry on consumers’ skin, which is increasing the risk of flammability.
As stated, the issue is affecting a small number of people but it has been an on-going one and the risk is real. Back in 2012,Brett Sigworth of Massachusetts suffered severe burns on his chest, ear and back after spraying himself with Banana Boat product and then walking over to his backyard grill to do some cooking.
Sigworth received second-degree burns on his body only in areas where he had applied sunscreen.
A report on Yahoo.com indicates that Dan Dillard, CEO of the Burn Prevention Network, believes excess sunscreen might still have been sitting unabsorbed on Sigworth’s skin, as the company has said it can, causing a flame to ignite, harming him.
What is important for consumers to remember, experts are saying, is that aerosol products can remain flammable once they’ve been applied to skin, and are not just a risk when in the process of being sprayed on.
Some think that staying safe simply involves exercising some common sense.
CTVnews.ca in Canada interviewed Dr. Darrel Rigel, professor of dermatology at New York University, who weighed in on the matter:
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I’ve never seen or heard of this happening before,” Rigel said.
“I think you just have to use common sense and not be near an open fire when you put on aerosol anything,” he added bluntly.
But the issue seems to be that consumers don’t readily associate a risk of ignition with something like a sunscreen- and so it pays to pause for a moment and think about the product before you use it.
Many consumer products that are sold as aerosols come with warning labels about the potential for flammability and it can be worth it to check.
CTVnews.ca notes that more than 20 million units of Banana Boat UltraMist screen have been sold since the product launched in 2010, and so it does seem that catching on fire due to your sunscreen is still a rare event, but even so it can still seem scary.
It’s true that the risk of developing skin cancer from not applying sunscreen when outdoors in sunny weather is likely greater than the risk of flammability, but why be the sixth Banana Boat Burn on the list?
If using spray-on sunscreen makes you anxious, go for the cream. Stay a long ways away from the fire pit, and keep the burgers and wings for the barbecue. It pays to safe.