Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) is voluntarily recalling its talc-based baby powder products after traces of asbestos were found in sample testing. According to a statement from the company, the recall is limited to one lot of baby powder bottles produced and shipped in the United States last year. The company said that the recall was made “out of an abundance of caution.” There have not been any adverse events reported related to exposure to the lot of affected products.
Talc is an ingredient used in many cosmetic products, such as baby powder and blush. While talc has not been found to be a cancer-causing compound, it is often mined near sources of asbestos, a known human carcinogen, creating a risk of cross-contamination. There is thought to be no safe level of exposure to asbestos in humans.
Routine testing by the Food and Drug Administration found “sub-trace levels of chrysotile asbestos contamination” in a sample of Johnson’s Baby Powder. Two samples were tested: one sample from lot #22318RB and a second from lot #00918RA. The sample from lot #22318RB tested positive for asbestos while the second sample tested negative. According to the company’s release, the levels found were no greater than 0.00002 percent.
Johnson & Johnson has launched an investigation into the matter. The company says that at this early stage, it cannot confirm whether cross-contamination occurred, whether the sample came from a bottle with an intact seal, or whether the tested product is authentic. Any person with a bottle of Johnson’s Baby Powder from lot #22318RB is advised to discontinue using the product and can contact the company for a refund. The lot includes 33,000 bottles.
The FDA has been conducting an ongoing survey of cosmetic products for asbestos since 2018. To date, the agency has tested about 50 cosmetic products. It expects to issue the full results from this survey by the end of the year.