Johnson & Johnson recalls some baby powder after asbestos found

Justin Sullivan  Getty Images FILE

The FDA said the affected product is Johnson's Baby Powder Lot #22318RB.

Johnson & Johnson "has immediately initiated a rigorous, thorough investigation into this matter, and is working with the FDA to determine the integrity of the tested sample, and the validity of the test results", the company said in its announcement. Asbestos is often found intertwined with talc.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer believes the link between asbestos and mesothelioma to be strong enough to say that it causes cancer.

At multiple trials, J&J experts have testified asbestos hasn't been detected in the talc in its baby powder in many tests over 40 years.

A Reuters report published a year ago said that the company was aware for decades of asbestos in its baby powder but did not disclose that information.

But the recall comes as J&J fights thousands of lawsuits in which plaintiffs claim its iconic baby powder was contaminated with asbestos and that it caused ovarian cancer or another rare cancer.

Asbestos naturally forms alongside talc, the mineral base for Baby Powder, in nature. Knewitz, the J&J spokesman, said at the time the company would cooperate with the inquiries. The findings of the investigation stated that Baby Powder periodically tested positive for tiny amounts of asbestos between 1971 and the early 2000s.

Numerous suits are ongoing, but have already cost the company many billions of dollars.

J&J has repeatedly said that its talc products are safe, and that decades of studies have shown them to be asbestos-free and that they do not cause cancer.

It added that the voluntary recall is out of "an abundance of caution", adding: "Years of testing, including the FDA's own testing on prior occasions - and as recently as last month - found no asbestos". The lot number can be found on the back of the bottle, directly underneath the cap.

Johnson & Johnson has issued a voluntary recall of one lot of its talcum Baby Powder after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found traces of asbestos, which causes cancer, the company announced Friday.

The company noted that the levels found were no greater than 0.00002%, and that at this early stage of its investigation into the matter, it can not confirm whether cross-contamination occurred, whether the sample came from a bottle with an intact seal or whether the tested product is authentic.

Still, asbestos allegations aren't the only legal headache for J&J. The talc is then crushed into a white powder and purified for use in personal care products to absorb moisture.



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