Johnson & Johnson is recalling a single lot of its Johnson’s Baby Powder after small amounts of asbestos were found in a bottle purchased online.
The company said it was initiating the recall “out of an abundance of caution.” It is working with the Food and Drug Administration, which tested the product, and has begun to investigate how and when the product was contaminated.
Johnson & Johnson insists its talc products are safe, and noted the traces of asbestos were only found in one bottle, and were minute.
Johnson & Johnson is investigating whether cross-contamination of the sample caused a false positive, whether the product was sealed correctly and maintained in a controlled environment, and whether the product was counterfeit.
“Thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos,” the company said in a statement.
However, the recall is sure to draw new scrutiny to the safety concerns surrounding the company’s talc products.
Late last year, the company launched a national ad campaign defending itself following an investigation from Reuters that said the company knew for decades its talc baby powder contained traces of asbestos.
Johnson & Johnson is facing thousands of lawsuits brought by plaintiffs who allege that talc in the company’s baby powder products contained asbestos and caused mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and other diseases.
The results have been mixed. In separate cases in 2018, a New Jersey jury awarded a total of $117 million dollars, and a California jury awarded a total of $29.5 million.
But a South Carolina jury in May concluded that the company’s baby powder does not contain asbestos and was not the cause of the plaintiff’s disease. Johnson & Johnson at the time said it was the fifth verdict in the company’s favor in just a few months.