Johnson & Johnson announced a recall of around 33,000 bottles of Johnson's Baby Powder on Friday, after FDA tests detected asbestos in a single bottle of the product purchased online.
People who own a bottle of Johnson's Baby Powder from Lot # 22318RB should stop using it, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI) said in a release announcing the recall and refunds.
"The FDA stands by the quality of testing and results and is unaware of any adverse events related to exposure to many affected products," City Council spokeswoman Gloria Sánchez-Contreras said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News.
The company is facing lawsuits from thousands of women, many of whom have claimed that Johnson & Johnson's talcum products contributed to their cancers. In a historic decision last year, a jury awarded $ 4.69 billion to 22 women and their families. The women had claimed that ovarian cancer was linked to asbestos contamination in the company's powder and talcum products.
Soft, powdered talc absorbs moisture and is used in a variety of cosmetics products, from eye shadow to baby powder. Talk can be contaminated with asbestos because deposits of both naturally occurring minerals can occur close to each other underground.
WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer assesses all forms of asbestos that are carcinogenic to humans and has said that the mineral causes lung, larynx and ovarian cancer, as well as mesotheliomas, which are cancers that develop in the inner lining of tissues that surrounds some organs. Because of this risk, the FDA recommends frequent testing of talcum products as well as inspecting talc mining sites to avoid contamination.
Johnson & Johnson have argued that they are taking thorough steps to look for asbestos-contaminated talc. "JJCI has a rigorous testing standard in place to ensure its cosmetic talcum is safe and years of testing, including the FDA's own tests on previous occasions ̵
But the New York Times reported last year that Johnson & Johnson executives had been discussing possible asbestos contamination in powder and talcum products in internal corporate memos for several years. The company's executives were concerned that Johnson's Baby Powder brand would be slowed down and were concerned about a state ban on talk, the report said. Over decades ranging from the 1970s to the 2000s, the company's raw talc and products sometimes tested positive for asbestos, Reuters reported in December, citing company documents produced in lawsuits.
The link between asbestos-free talc and ovarian cancer is less clear, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Findings from many studies on women are mixed, "with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase," reports ACS.
Johnson & Johnson have lately denied that the products contain asbestos and rejected the claims of a cancer link as "garbage science."
"JJCI has immediately initiated a rigorous, thorough investigation into this matter, and is working with the FDA to determine the integrity of the test being tested and the validity of the test results," the company said Friday.