Johnson & Johnson Shares Recover As Report Says No Asbestos in Baby Powder

You may recall that consumer goods company Johnson & Johnson recently recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder over the suspicion that they may be contaminated with asbestos.  The company pulled all of these bottles from store shelves for a national recall after the United States Food and Drug Administration found trace amounts of the known carcinogen asbestos in one bottle (which was purchased online). 

The recall put the 130-year-old company into quite a tough predicament as the US healthcare conglomerate still faces upwards of 15,000 lawsuits over not only baby powder, but also medical products like medical treatments and devices.  Some of these lawsuits accuse Johnson & Johnson’s baby product of causing cancer. 

Fortunately, Johnson & Johnson has updated their report, saying they tested the powder again and found no traces of asbestos. Specifically, 15 new tests were conducted by two separate third-party labs to confirm no asbestos contamination.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said, “Rigorous and third-party testing confirms there is no asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder. We stand by the safety of our product.” 

This is important because Walmart, CVS Health, and Rite Aid all announced they would similarly pull Johnson & Johnson baby powder from their store shelves, just after the initial recall.  However, J&J said the new analysis only showed there was only a presence of chrysotile asbestos at a rate no greater than 0.00002 percent. 

Accordingly, FDA Center for Food Safety and Nutrition deputy director for scientific operations Steve Musser comments that the FDA stands by their results indicating asbestos contamination.  While the agency did not immediately respond for comment, Musser argues, “[Johnson & Johnson] would say the product is free of asbestos based on their testing, and we would say the opposite for that sample.”

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