Johnson & Johnson has been selling its famous baby powder for over 100 years. Many women use it on various parts of the body. There have been serious health claims against this baby powder giant in recent years, including that the product can cause both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. In its latest public scandal, it was tested positive for asbestos, which has led to several stores across the country removing it from its shelves, and many questioning the safety of the product.
Last month, there was a study that showed small traces of asbestos were found in a batch of 33,000, 22-ounce bottles of Johnson’s baby powder made in the United States in 2018. Specifically, a bottle that was purchased online from this batch was tested. Levels of chrysotile asbestos contamination were found in the sample. Asbestos is the only chemical linked to causing mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson has had to fight off several claims that their product has caused mesothelioma over the years.
The recent asbestos discovery in Johnson’s baby powder is not new. Over the past 40 years, they have claimed to be asbestos-free; however, there have been times where the testing of their baby powder was questioned. There was a report last year by Reuters that claimed the company knew about asbestos in their product for decades, but did not inform the public.
And in 2010, Johnson hired Andreas Salvidar, a laboratory director of J&J Analytical Services, to help test their baby powder. He testified in 2018 that the testing he did in 2010 found no traces of asbestos in their baby powder, although many people, including thousands of plaintiffs, have felt otherwise and sued the company, claiming inhaling the product caused the deadly lung disease.
However, this past September, J&J did find asbestos in Johnson’s baby powder. Once the FDA verified the findings, this prompted Johnson & Johnson to administer a voluntary recall of the batch of 33,000 bottles, all of which could possibly be tainted. They did so, saying it was done with caution.
Since Johnson & Johnson’s legal troubles began decades ago, they have been sued nearly 16,000 times, either by women who’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or by people with mesothelioma.
According to a comment by the acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless, while consumers may be concerned with the announcement of the recall if they used the affected products, they should note that the FDA is acting diligently to remedy the issue.
He also mentioned that the FDA always tests talc products that have the potential of containing asbestos. Once Johnson & Johnson announced their recall, many stores decided to pull all bottles from lot #22318RB from their shelves. These stores include CVS, Target, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Wal-Mart.
“If you purchased a bottle of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder from this lot in question, you should discontinue using the product right away and contact the company for a refund. It is not right for any company to put its consumers at risk for contracting such a deadly disease,” says personal injury attorney Jim Hurley of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers.
Once the results of the study were released, Johnson & Johnson also said that it would be launching an investigation into the results to see if the sample was accurate and if the test results are valid. The levels that were discovered in the sample were quite low, with only 0.00002% of asbestos carcinogens found. Since this is such a low number when it comes to traces of an adverse chemical, there’s a possibility that cross-contamination could have occurred.
The findings of Johnson & Johnson’s investigation have come in, and the results found by two third-party labs discovered that there is no asbestos in lot #22318RB in any of the 33,000 bottles. Instead, Johnson & Johnson claims the asbestos found in the initial test came from a portable air conditioner that was in the room at the time of the testing.
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