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Johnson & Johnson baby powder recalled over possible asbestos contamination

Published Oct 21st, 2019 12:30PM EDT
baby powder recall
Image: Jonathan Hordle/Shutterstock

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Johnson & Johson has initiated a recall of one of its most ubiquitous products because there’s a small chance it might contain asbestos. In a new bulletin, the company reveals that a single lot of its baby powder returned a positive result for “sub-trave levels” of chrysotile asbestos in a recent test by the Food and Drug Administration.

The talc-based powder is extremely popular and the discovery made by the FDA is obviously a bit concerning, but the company insists that the recall is being conducted “out of an abundance of caution.” The recall affects a single lot with Lot #22318RB.

The levels of asbestos detected by the FDA were very, very low, but this small-scale recall doesn’t really tell the whole story. Johnson & Johnson has come under fire in recent years for ignoring possible signs of asbestos contamination in its products. Earlier this year, a jury sided with a woman who claimed J&J baby powder gave her cancer, awarding her a $29 million verdict.

That case was just one of many the company has faced over the years over talc-related asbestos. In total, over 10,000 lawsuits have been filed against Johson & Johnson, all attempting to link the talc powder to asbestos and cancer.

In its recall bulletin, the company already appears a bit defensive, claiming that they can’t confirm whether the results by the FDA were a “false positive” or if the product tested was counterfeit or authentic.

“Our talc comes from ore sources confirmed to meet our stringent specifications that exceed industry standards,” the statement reads. “Not only do we and our suppliers routinely test to ensure our talc does not contain asbestos, our talc has also been tested and confirmed to be asbestos-free by a range of independent laboratories, universities and global health authorities.”

All of this aside, if you have a bottle of Johnson & Johnson baby powder from lot #22318RB, don’t use it. You can contact the company for information on how to participate in the recall via its recall announcement page.