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October 25, 2019

Baby Powder Pulled from Shelves after Asbestos Found in J&J Talcum Powder

Recall Spurs Concerns of Cancer from Contaminated Talcum Powder


After the discovery of asbestos in Johnson & Johnson baby powder, many retailers are now pulling all bottles of the popular talc-based powder from their shelves. So far, major chains removing Johnson & Johnson talcum powder from their stores include CVS, Walmart and Rite Aid.

On October 18 the FDA issued a recall for over 33,000 bottles of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder after discovering the presence of sub-trace levels of chrysotile asbestos. The bottle containing the cancer-causing substance was purchased from an online retailer, undermining decades of Johnson & Johnson’s claims that talc in their products does not contain asbestos.

Walmart, Rite Aid, and CVS Pharmacy have all issued statements in the last few days announcing the removal of these potentially toxic products from their stores. The Johnson & Johnson baby powder recall applies to bottles with the lot #22318RB, which can be found directly under the cap on the back of the bottle.

The testing of Johnson & Johnson baby powder was part of the FDA’s ongoing survey of cosmetic products for asbestos, which has been in motion since 2018. In their survey, the FDA tested two samples of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, finding asbestos in one lot but not the other. Many are concerned about what this might mean in terms of how widespread the issue of asbestos-contaminated baby powder is. The FDA has created a consumer webpage which will provide regular updates about products the FDA has found to contain asbestos. So far, products from Claire’s and Beauty Plus Global have been part of that webpage.

Even with the asbestos discovery, Johnson & Johnson is attempting to downplay the recall, saying that the FDA did not say whether the sample they tested came from a bottle with a broken seal or if the product was counterfeit. However, the FDA says that they stand behind the quality of their testing and results.  

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