Retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond has announced a voluntary recall after it was discovered some of its metal tissue holder products contained a radioactive substance.
The recalled item is the Dual Ridge Metal boutique tissue holder, and has a model number listed as DR9M and UPC number 8476820004980. The product was sold online and in brick and mortar stores in over 20 states, reported KABC Los Angeles.
Gannett News reported this product was also shipped to Canada.
The metal tissue box has been listed for sale online and on store shelves since July 2011, but has been pulled off the market because it contains man-made Cobalt-60, which is a radioactive material. The item was produced at a facility in India and shipped to a distribution site in New Jersey.
Cobalt-60 is a gamma emitter, which means this type is the kind that radiates the most severe type of radioactive particles. It is often used in medical environments.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website says the use of Cobalt-60 is "carefully controlled to avoid the adverse health impacts and to maximize the benefits of medical care." Cobalt-60 is linked to causing cancer.
The New York Daily News reported Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) spokesman David McIntyre said about the tissue boxes, “There’s no real health threat from these, but we advise people to return them."
McIntyre indicated the danger of keeping the tainted metal tissue boxes and spending "about 30 minutes a day near it for a year" would equate to "a couple of chest x-rays."
The Cobalt-60 was discovered after a truck going through a surveillance monitor in California sounded an alert. On Jan. 10 the NRC notified Bed, Bath & Beyond of the situation. Cobalt-60 is regulated by both the EPA and the NRC.
The retailer issued a statement which said, "According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), although any unnecessary radiation exposure is not desirable, there is no threat to anyone’s health from these tissue holders. The NRC has also informed us that the material is believed to be in the tissue holder itself and cannot be inhaled, nor can it contaminate other objects (such as tissues)."
The company also said the recall was "out of an abundance of caution."
Officials across the U.S. were reported by several media reports to have confirmed the presence of radioactive particles in the items pulled from shelves.
In Westchester County, N.Y., local media Gannett News reported reactions from local consumers.
“I certainly think a company this large would have standards they go by to make sure they know where their products are coming from and that they are safe,” customer Christina D’Onofrio, 42, of Cortlandt said outside the Elmsford store today to LoHud. “They should do their homework before they put it out.”
"Startled" was a word used by Gannett as they reported on the issue.
“You hear about all of the recalls form China, Taiwan and other places,” said Kassandra Gerring, a 30-year-old physical therapist who was a[t] the store to buy dishes. “It’s kind of surprising in a way that Bed, Bath & Beyond wouldn’t be a little more diligent in checking the source of its products.”
Bed, Bath & Beyond says customers who purchased the Dual Ridge Metal tissue box should return the item for a full refund. Consumers with questions can call the retailer at 1-800-462-3966.