Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder recall: Asbestos found in small FDA test

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that it has initiated a voluntary recall of Johnson’s Baby Powder over concerns of asbestos contamination.

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The recall is confined to one lot of the company’s popular talc powder that was produced and shipped in the United States last year. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration test found chrysotile asbestos contamination in samples from a bottle purchased online, according to the company.

The levels of asbestos in the lot were measured at 0.00002%, according to the FDA.

Johnson & Johnson issued a statement about the recall.

The company "has a rigorous testing standard in place to ensure its cosmetic talc is safe and years of testing, including the FDA's own testing on prior occasions – and as recently as last month – found no asbestos. Thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos."

The statement went on to say that the company “immediately initiated a rigorous, thorough investigation into this matter, and is working with the FDA to determine the integrity of the tested sample, and the validity of the test results. At this early stage of the investigation, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI):

  • Cannot confirm if cross-contamination of the sample caused a false positive.
  • Cannot confirm whether the sample was taken from a bottle with an intact seal or whether the sample was prepared in a controlled environment.
  • Cannot confirm whether the tested product is authentic or counterfeit."

The lot number of the voluntary recall is #22318RB. The product is Johnson's Baby Powder. Consumers are urged to stop using the powder and return it to JJCI for a refund.

Asbestos is a "naturally occurring mineral that is often found near talc, an ingredient in many cosmetic products," according to the FDA. But in some cases – typically if the fibers are released into the air – they can enter a person's body and subsequently become trapped in the lungs or in the digestive tract if swallowed, according to Oregon State University.

The body cannot break down these fibers once they are stuck, which is why exposure to asbestos can cause serious health issues including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma, the university states.

The company has faced lawsuits in the United States that claimed JJCI knew of asbestos in its talcum powder and that it caused cancer in some users.

For refund information, contact the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Care Center at or by calling +1 (866) 565-2229.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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