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CVS pulls certain J&J baby powder products amid widening crisis for drugmaker

CVS Health Corp. is removing 22-ounce bottles of Johnson & Johnson's baby powder from its shelves, expanding on a small recall the pharmaceutical giant issued six days earlier after a small batch of the product was found to contain cancer-causing asbestos.

Shares of J&J slid by about 1.76% to $127.61 on Oct. 24, continuing a downward trend that began on Oct. 18 when the company announced the recall of a single batch of its talc baby powder products. J&J's shares closed the day Oct. 17 at $136.17.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered low levels of asbestos in a bottle of the talc product that was purchased online, triggering J&J's voluntarily recall.

CVS, the largest retail pharmacy in the U.S., has now taken a precautionary step of recalling 22-ounce baby powder products from all of its stores, the company confirmed in a statement. The pharmacy also initiated a register warning to prevent the product from being sold as the recall was underway. Customers who purchased the product should not use it and can return the item for a refund, CVS said.

J&J has been dogged by the ongoing talc controversy for months as continued reports on the product's safety crop up. The New Brunswick, N.J.-based company has faced more than 14,000 lawsuits alleging thaht the popular baby powder products cause cancer.

According to the FDA, talc — a naturally occurring mineral — is often mined near its cousin asbestos, which has a different crystal structure. While talc is safe, asbestos is a known carcinogen. The FDA allows no more than 0.00002% of crystalline asbestos contamination in the consumer product.

J&J did not return a request for comment on the matter as of publication.

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