KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 – Johnson & Johnson has commenced a voluntary recall of its baby powder in the US, due to low levels of asbestos contamination.
The recall, which is limited to one lot of baby powder bottles produced and shipped in the US last year, is due to a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test that found levels of chrysotile asbestos contamination in samples from a bottle purchased online.
CNN reported Johnson & Johnson noting that the levels found were no greater than 0.00002 per cent, and that it cannot confirm as to whether cross-contamination occurred, at this early stage of its probe into the matter; whether the sample came from a bottle with an intact seal or whether the tested product is authentic
“I understand today’s recall may be concerning to all those individuals who may have used the affected lot of baby powder.
“I want to assure everyone that the agency takes these concerns seriously and that we are committed to our mandate of protecting the public health,” Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless said in a statement, according to CNN.
“The FDA continues to test cosmetic products that contain talc for the presence of asbestos to protect Americans from potential health risks,” Sharpless added.
People with a bottle of Johnson’s Baby Powder from lot #22318RB, which includes 33,000 bottles, were urged to stop using the product and call the company for a refund.
The FDA has also defended the quality of its testing and results, adding that it is not aware of any adverse events relating to exposure to the lot of affected products.
“FDA handling of the sample and testing followed standard operating procedures for laboratory analysis and FDA sees no indication of cross-contamination.
“FDA will be working with Johnson & Johnson to facilitate further investigation to substantiate that the product is authentic. At this time, there is no indication that the product is counterfeit. Additionally, FDA is not aware of any records pointing to counterfeit Johnson’s baby powder in the US market,” FDA spokeswoman Lyndsay Meyer, was quoted as saying.
Reuters reported in 2018 that the company was aware for decades, of asbestos content in its baby powder, but did not disclose that information to the public.
Lawsuits have been filed against the company in the US alleging that asbestos in its talcum powder causes cancer, with some of those cases carrying verdicts against Johnson & Johnson, with multi-million-dollar awards to plaintiffs.
According to the report, the FDA said that both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that may be found in close proximity in the earth.
“Unlike talc, however, asbestos is a known carcinogen. There is the potential for contamination of talc with asbestos and therefore, it is important to select talc mining sites carefully and take steps to test the ore sufficiently,” FDA said.