On October 18th of this year, Johnson & Johnson – the massive corporation that makes everything from medical devices to skin cream – issued a voluntary recall on a single lot (33,000 units) of talc baby powder in “an abundance of caution” after regulators discovered trace amounts of asbestos in the product. While subsequent in-house testing by Johnson & Johnson turned up no asbestos contamination, it’s important to understand how asbestos ends up in talc powder and other products and the danger it represents.
The Talcum Powder Asbestos Situation
Johnson & Johnson have a long history of issues surrounding their baby powder products, with released internal documents showing that they had known about asbestos in their baby powder and its health effects since at least 1971. This legacy has stayed with them and has put their products under closer scrutiny, such as with the October recall. The recall has also caused some stores such as CVS, Walmart, and Rite Aid to pull some of their stock.
Understanding Asbestos Contamination
We’ve mentioned asbestos as a form of contamination several times in this post, time to understand why better. Talcum powder is made from the mineral talc, and in the mines where talc is excavated, asbestos may be present. If the mined minerals are not properly screened, talc can contain traces of asbestos minerals, a dangerous carcinogenic.
What Other Products Can Be Contaminated with Asbestos?
Here at Fiber Control, Inc., we most often deal with asbestos contamination in the form of loose fill insulation vermiculite. Much like with talc, vermiculite is formed in a similar geological process to asbestos, which means they can both be present in the same mine. Much of the old vermiculite was mined from the Libby, Montana mines, which was unknowingly contaminated with asbestos, leading to sickness and death in the town and a legacy still found in the attics of homes around the US.
If you’re concerned your J&J baby powder is part of this most recent recall, check to see if it’s lot #22318RB and follow the FDA recall process. If you’re concerned about asbestos contaminated materials in your home – or the presence of older asbestos containing-materials – it’s time to contact Fiber Control, Inc. We can help you understand the risks of asbestos in your home or business and perform asbestos abatement to make it safe. Contact us to learn more.