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Amid Recall, Johnson & Johnson Argues Its Baby Powder Does NOT Contain Asbestos


— November 8, 2019

Johnson & Johnson announced this week that bottles of recalled baby powder do not contain asbestos.


Last month, Johnson & Johnson issued a recall of its baby powder after the Food and Drug Administration said it discovered trace amounts of asbestos during routine testing. The recall included 33,000 bottles of baby powder. However, earlier this week, Johnson & Johnson came out with claims that it “did not find asbestos in multiple tests of the same bottle of baby powder” that the FDA claimed contained asbestos.

Talcum powder
Talcum powder; image courtesy of Mattman723 via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Additionally, further testing of 48 other bottles from the recalled lot of baby powder, “conducted by two third-party labs, reached the same conclusion,” according to Johnson & Johnson. As a result of the recall and reports from the FDA that the baby powder contained asbestos, the company is now facing multiple lawsuits filed by more than 15,000 plaintiffs, all of whom argue their cancer was caused by the recalled baby powder and other talc-based powder. On top of that, the recall prompted many retailers across the country, including Walmart, CVS, and Rite Aid, to remove the affected bottles of baby powder from their store shelves. The recall also affected the company’s revenue stream in the most recent quarter. For example, “sales in its baby-care division slumped nearly 12 percent to $417 million,” according to Johnson & Johnson.

When commenting on the recent findings, the company said, “We stand by the safety of our product.” It also added that it “contacted the two labs after the recall to expedite tests of the baby powder in question,” and said that while three samples initially tested positive for asbestos, “an investigation by the lab the contamination was found” determined the asbestos was “coming from a portable air-conditioner in the room.” Johnson & Johnson said:

This finding underscores the importance of investigating any positive test result. Even when careful safeguards are followed, asbestos contamination may be introduced during sample division, storage, preparation, and analysis…At the time of the recall, the F.D.A. told The New York Times that its handling of the baby powder sample followed standard operating procedures for laboratory analysis and that it saw no indication of cross-contamination.”

This isn’t the first time Johnson & Johnson has had to defend itself against claims of asbestos in their talc products, and every time the company blames the claims on “poorly executed tests, unqualified scientists, similar-looking minerals and other factors.” When commenting on its products and safety procedures, the company said it “routinely uses a rigorous testing standard to check its talc.”

Sources:

Johnson & Johnson Says Recalled Baby Powder Doesn’t Have Asbestos

Johnson & Johnson Say Tests Show That No Asbestos Was Found In Recalled Baby Powder, But FDA Stands By Results

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