Iconic baby brand Johnson & Johnson initiated a recall of its baby powder on Friday “out of an, abundance of caution” after samples tested from a bottle found it contained trace levels of asbestos.
The Food and Drug Administration in the US said its tests found the cancer-causing substance chrysotile in samples taken from a bottle bought online, The Sun reports.
The chemicals giant said its own investigation will take 30 days or more, but stressed repeated tests in the past have found no asbestos in its products.
“Thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos,” the company stated. “Not only do we and our suppliers routinely test to ensure our talc does not contain asbestos, our talc has also been tested and confirmed to be asbestos-free by a range of independent laboratories, universities and global health authorities.”
It comes as Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of crippling lawsuits claims from people who claim talcum powder gave them cancer.
The firm has also been rocked by a A$11.8 billion payout awarded to a man who grew breasts after taking an autism drug.
Shares plunged 3 per cent after the recall was announced today.
Johnson & Johnson said it had initiated the voluntary recall of batch of baby powder, made and shipped in the US in 2018, out of “an abundance of caution”.
It said it was working with the FDA to determine the integrity of the test results, including whether the product was counterfeit and if the bottle’s seal had been broken.
In July 2018, 22 women were awarded more than A$6 billion in damages after claiming the firm’s talc gave them ovarian cancer.
Lawyers said the company knew its talc was contaminated with asbestos since the 1970s but failed to warn shoppers.
Another 15,500 similar cases are going through the courts.
Talc is a mineral and can sometimes be found in the ground in proximity to asbestos.
J & J denied that its products ever contained asbestos and insists they do not cause cancer.
The firm claims several studies have concluded its talc is safe and insisted the verdict was a “fundamentally unfair process”.
A study commissioned by the FDA, which included testing a variety of talc samples from 2009 to 2010, found no asbestos in any of them.
Johnson & Johnson also faces thousands of claims from people who were given the controversial drug Risperdal.
The antipsychotic has been used to treat conditions such as autism — but some boys said they grew breasts, with a devastating effect on their lives.
One sufferer was awarded £6bn (A$11.3bn) by a jury in Philadelphia earlier this month. The company plans to appeal.
In August the firm was ordered to pay A$572 million after a judge in Oklahoma ruled it fuelled America’s opioid crisis.
The judge said J & J aggressively marketed painkillers as wonder cures for chronic pain, but users got hooked and many overdosed.
J & J claims it’s a “target” for lawsuits because it is so successful and it is not worried about the flood of big money cases its been drawn into so far.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission