The irony is almost implausible: At least five people have caught on fire after using a product designed to prevent burning. The incidents have ignited (so to speak) a recall of 23 Banana Boat spray sunscreen products in the UltraMist line sold from January 2010 through September 2012.

 

“If a consumer comes into contact with a flame or spark prior to complete drying of the product on the skin, there is a potential for the product to ignite,” notes the recall notice from Banana Boat’s maker, Energizer Holdings Inc.

 

The company says it has received reports of four people being burned in the U.S. and one in Canada. Company officials are alerting those who have bought the recalled products not to use them.

 

The problem stems from the size of the spray valve opening on the affected products, which is able to dispense too much product onto the skin. As a result, the sunscreen takes longer to dry on the skin; the product is flammable until it’s thoroughly dry.

 

What many spray sunscreen users may not know — although the products carry warnings — is that continuous spray sunscreen products should not be used near open flames or sparks, and that consumers using the products are not supposed to smoke.

 

Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration requested additional data to establish effectiveness and to determine whether spray sunscreens in general present a safety concern. According to Consumer Reports, the particular concern is the possibility that people might accidentally inhale the ingredients, a risk that’s greatest in children. Add catching on fire to the risk factors and you may decide that it's time to return to the good ol' squeeze bottle.

 

To see a list of the recalled products, visit the recall page here.

 

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