On October 18, 2019 Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled one lot of baby powder in the US, after a sample tested positive for asbestos, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Inhaling or swallowing microscopic asbestos fibers is know to cause cancer.
The recalled product is Johnson’s Baby Powder Lot #22318RB. The lot number can be found on the back of the bottle, directly underneath the cap.
The FDA is advising consumers in the US not to use this specific lot of the product.
This sampling took place during the FDA’s ongoing survey of testing talc-containing cosmetics for asbestos. This survey started in 2018 and involves the testing of about 50 cosmetic products.
As part of the same survey of cosmetic products, a second Johnson’s Baby Powder sample from a different lot tested negative for asbestos. That sample came from Lot #00918RA.
The company faces several lawsuits claiming use of some of its products caused cancer.
The company noted that the levels found were no greater than 0.00002%, and that at this early stage of its investigation into the matter, 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.
Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that may be found in close proximity in the earth, according to US FDA. Unlike talc, however, asbestos is a known carcinogen. There is the potential for contamination of talc with asbestos and therefore, it is important to select talc mining sites carefully and take steps to test the ore sufficiently.