Amid a decade of cancer and other health issues’ lawsuits and scrutiny of their baby powder, Johnson & Johnson is recalling 33,000 bottles of it because U.S. health regulators found trace amounts of asbestos in samples from one bottle that was purchased online.
Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, which is made from cosmetic talc, has been a staple for American baby care, as well as for adult skincare and makeup routines for over a century. It is made from the mineral talc which is mainly comprised of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. When this is in powder form and applied to skin it absorbs moisture and decreases friction. Moisture and friction are common causes of rashes and skin irritations such as chafing. Talcum powder is widely used in baby and adult cosmetic products, as well as in other consumer products.
In its natural form, some talc contains asbestos which has been known to cause cancers.
Although Johnson & Johnson has been sued and lost cases where asbestos in their baby powder has been linked to cancer and other health issues, and is currently facing as many as 15,000 new claims, this is the first time the company has recalled this product for possible asbestos contamination. Prior to this, U.S. health and consumer regulators had not found asbestos in Johnson & Johnson baby powder.
Johnson & Johnson’s voluntary recall, was of one lot of their baby powder that was produced and shipped in the United States in 2018. They received a report from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that told them about the asbestos findings. The FDA was not available for comment but Johnson & Johnson says that they are working with them to determine the integrity of the tested sample, as well as the validity of the FDA’s test results.