Johnson & Johnson is voluntarily recalling around 33,000 bottles of baby powder in the U.S. after FDA found trace amounts of asbestos in samples taken from a bottle purchased online, according to Reuters.
The FDA test indicated the presence of no greater than 0.00002% of chrysotile asbestos in the tested sample, J&J said, but the World Health Organization recognizes no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Reuters notes that, while most people exposed never develop cancer, for some, even small amounts of asbestos can trigger cancer years later.
Reuters reports that J&J’s consumer unit said it was too early to confirm whether cross-contamination of the sample had caused a false positive, whether the sample was taken from a bottle with an intact seal, or whether the sample was prepared in a controlled environment.
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CNN quoted FDA as noting that “Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that may be found in close proximity in the earth… There is the potential for contamination of talc with asbestos and therefore, it is important to select talc mining sites carefully and test the ore sufficiently.
A Reuters report last year said that the company was aware that there was asbestos in its baby powder for decades, but failed to disclose that information. J&J has been the subject of several lawsuits alleging that the company’s baby powder caused cancer.