Banana Boat recalled 23 of its sunscreen products last October after customer reports of catching on fire after using the product.
The recall was too late for Brett Sigworth, who received second-degree burns from a grill after applying Banana Boat sunscreen aerosol spray on parts of his body. Sigworth said of the incident: “wherever the sunblock went, that’s where it burned.” The result was traumatic for Sigworth, and certainly wasn’t pretty:
It was also too late for Mary Shoulders, whose arm caught on fire and who received third degree burns after applying Banana Boat sunscreen and going outside to weld. Shoulders said she waited about five minutes after applying the sunscreen to begin welding. The result, again, is not pretty:
Banana Boat issued the recall notice in October of last year—months after the Sigworth burn incident which was reported in June.
Energizer Holdings, Banana Boat’s parent company, said that it believes the problem stemmed from spray valves that dispensed more than is typical in the continuous sun care spray industry. This resulted in the products taking longer to dry on the skin and “if the consumer comes into contact with a flame of spark prior to complete drying of the product on the skin, there is a potential for the product to ignite.”
There is no evidence that non-recalled Banana Boat products have the same problem with their spray valves. But customers should still be cautious when using aerosol sunscreen products including those in Banana Boat’s line. The American Burn Association made the following statement:
The American Burn Association calls for prominent warning about the flammability of aerosol sunscreen sprays on these products, including the need to follow label warnings relating to time and proximity to ignition sources. Considerations might be given to the use of lotion based sunscreen.
In an interview with CBSNewYork.com, Dr. Debra Jaliman, a Dermatologist said: “In these spray sunscreens there is often times a very high alcohol content. So that alcohol can be very flammable.”
Both Sigworth and Shoulders described incredible pain from their burns. Even with a new line of products out this year, consumers cannot be too cautious.
Banana Burnt is a consumer safety website about Banana Boat sunscreen. Check back for updates on Banana Boat and other aerosol sunscreen products.