Johnson & Johnson rushed baby powder tests after FDA warning: report
"We asked the labs to work as quickly as possible," company says.
Johnson & Johnson rushed independent tests after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that their baby powder was contaminated with asbestos, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The company announced that independent testing did not find any traces of contamination just 11 days after initiating a voluntary recall, but the Journal reports that the results were actually more complicated.
A Pennsylvania laboratory deviated from its usual testing techniques, with the lab being forced to use a testing room designed for law enforcement gunshot residue analysis, according to the Journal.
The lab did discover trace amounts of asbestos in several Baby Powder samples, but the test results were considered useless after the testing room was found to be contaminated by an air conditioner, according to letters the lab sent to J&J. Follow-up tests from the Pennsylvania lab showed no asbestos contamination in the Baby Powder.
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Then, J&J hired the services of a second independent lab in Georgia, with preliminary results from that testing coming up negative for trace amounts of asbestos. While those results were strictly preliminary, J&J was quick to use them upon announcing that their Baby Powder was in fact asbestos-free on Oct. 29.
In a statement obtained by the Wall Street Journal, the company said it's continuing to investigate the situation while explaining the rushed nature of their independent testing.
"Given the serious questions raised by the FDA's test results, our investigation of course started and moved with speed and diligence," J&J wrote. "We asked the labs to work as quickly as possible to retest those samples so we could better understand what FDA reported."
The company's stock is up 3.02 percent since January.
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Baby powder has long been a staple of J&J’s product line, despite making up less than one percent of total sales for the company.
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The company continues to fend off nearly 100,000 lawsuits regarding marketing and product safety. 16,000 of those lawsuits assert their baby powder causes ovarian cancer in women as well as a different form of cancer, mesothelioma, for people who have inhaled or accidentally ingested it.
Lawyers representing the lawsuits' plaintiffs have since sent the FDA’s baby powder results to a federal judge, who will determine whether or not the evidence is sufficient for the lawsuits to proceed, the Journal reports.
J&J did not return FOX Business' request for a comment.