Johnson & Johnson recalled around 33,000 bottles of baby powder in the United States after U.S. health regulators found trace amounts of asbestos in samples taken from a bottle purchased online. After the announcement, the shares fell more than 6% to close at $127.70 (98.7 pounds).
Asbestos is a known carcinogen that has been linked to deadly mesothelioma and this is the first time the company has recalled its production. A jury last week ordered the company to pay $8 billion to a plaintiff in a case claiming J&J downplayed the risks of Risperdal. J&J faces more than 15,000 lawsuits from consumers claiming its talc products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder, caused cancer.
J&J said on the conference call that it received a report from the FDA on Oct. 17 alerting the company about the asbestos finding. It said it has started an investigation and is reviewing manufacturing records and collecting data on the distribution of the lot to determine where the product was shipped.
While most people exposed never develop cancer, for some, even small amounts of asbestos are enough to trigger the disease years later.