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Purity baby powder recalled from market over cancer-causing asbestos

South African company, Tiger Brands has recalled its Purity Essentials Baby Powder products after finding levels of asbestos, a chemical whose exposure has been linked to various cancers in test samples.

According to a warning notice written by Meti Demissie Disasa, registrar COMESA Competition Commission, the withdrawal is a precautionary measure after a batch of pharmaceutical-grade talc powder used as raw material in the production of finished powder products was tested and trace levels of the chemical were found.

The affected products include Purity & Elizabeth Anne’s Fresh Baby Powder- 400 grams as well as Purity Essentials Baby Powder and Purity & Elizabeth Anne’s Essentials Baby Powder in the measurements of 100, 200 and 400 grams

“Tiger Brands has indicated that the recall is precautionary as the raw material with the detected trace levels of asbestos did not meet the company’s quality and safety standards”, the notice reads in part.

Previously, various studies have established that talc powder contaminated with asbestos causes cancer, including one by the International Agency for Research in Cancer that classified genital use of talc-based body powder as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Another 2020 study on serous ovarian cancer caused by exposure to asbestos and fibrous talc in cosmetic talc powders established that eight out of 10 cases included asbestos.

The recalled product according to the company is sold within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member countries and the public in these countries is urged to exercise caution when purchasing and alert authorities about where the recalled products are still being distributed.    

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