Asbestos Bladder, US Retail Stores Pull Johnson & Johnson's Powder


Three major US retailers, including Walmart, are pulling out Johnson & Johnson (J&J) baby powder distribution from their stores.

This is a follow-up action taken by health institutions, who suspect that the powder has asbestos content.

CVS Health Corp, for example, said that they would remove the product from online stores to anticipate and prevent customer confusion.

Rite Aid has also notified its stores to pull all Johnson's Baby Powder 22-ounce powder bottles from the sales shelves on October 18 and store them in a safe location.

"Also, we have implemented a system block at the point of sale for this product to not be sold," said company spokesman Chris Savarese as reported by Reuters on Friday (10/25/2019).

Asbestos Bladder, US Retail Stores Pull Johnson & Johnson's Powder
Credits: Flickr
J&J said last week that it had pulled around 33,000 bottles of baby powder in the United States. This was done after US health regulators discovered a small amount of asbestos content in samples taken from bottles purchased online.

To note, asbestos is a carcinogen that can cause death and outbreaks such as mesothelioma, a cancerous tissue that attacks the mesothelium.

Withdrawals will be made limited to one lot of Baby's Johnson Powder produced and shipped in the US in 2018. The company added that tests recently carried out by the Food and Drug Institute found no asbestos content in their powder.

"It is not at all important in terms of dollar figures for CVS or J&J. What you are told is that retailers are becoming extra careful about how they deal with J&J withdrawals," said Jefferies health analyst Jared Holz.

J&J spokeswoman Ernie Knewitz said this was only temporary. "It's temporary ... They do it all over the place because they don't have the resources to go through at the store level and check all SKUs (inventory storage units), check all lot numbers," he stressed.

Other retailers also seem to eliminate the powder products from their sales, because they want to avoid the burden of responsibility.

"It would not be surprising if I saw Amazon and other online retailers do the same thing," said Eric Schiffer, chief executive of the private equity firm of the Patriarch Organization.

Previously, J&J reportedly knew that their powder products were exposed to asbestos. This is known from internal company records, trial testimonies, and other evidence.
Company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors, and lawyers worry about the problem and think about how to overcome it.

However, J&J has repeatedly said that its powder products are safe and that for decades research has proven that these products are free of asbestos and do not cause cancer.
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