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Johnson & Johnson recalls baby powder after asbestos found in sample

Consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is recalling around 33,000 bottles of its iconic baby powder in the US after health regulators found trace levels of asbestos in samples from a single bottle purchased online.

The voluntary recall of Johnson’s baby powder covers a single lot and is the first time the product has been recalled, despite the company facing thousands of lawsuits from consumers claiming its talc products caused their cancer.

J&J said it was recalling the lot “out of an abundance of caution” in response to the recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test.

“Despite the low levels reported and in full cooperation and collaboration with the FDA, JJCI is initiating this voluntary recall of Lot #22318RB of Johnson’s Baby Powder, from which the tested sample was taken,” the company said in a statement on Friday.

Johnson & Johnson said it has initiated a “rigorous, thorough investigation” into the matter and is working with the FDA to determine the integrity of the tested sample, and the validity of the results.

J&J said it cannot confirm if cross-contamination of the sample caused a false positive, whether the sample was taken from a bottle with an intact seal or whether the tested product is authentic or counterfeit.

The consumer goods giant said it has a “rigorous testing standard” in place to ensure its talc is safe and over years of testing found no asbestos.

“Thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos. Our talc comes from ore sources confirmed to meet our stringent specifications that exceed industry standards,” Johnson & Johnson said.

The FDA said in a statement that it stands by the quality of its testing and recommends that consumers stop using the product if it comes from the affected lot.

The agency said a second Johnson’s Baby Powder sample from a different lot tested negative for asbestos.

The 130-year-old US healthcare conglomerate is already facing thousands of lawsuits over a variety of other products including opioids, medical devices and its antipsychotic Risperdal.

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