Radioactive tissue boxes have been pulled from Bed, Bath & Beyond stores following State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah’s announcement that state and local health officials have confirmed that 12 metal box tissue holders containing low levels of cobalt-60 radioactive material were identified and removed from the shelves at four Bed, Bath and Beyond stores in New York State.
According to an Associated Press (AP), the contaminated Bed Bath & Beyond metal tissue holders were distributed to over 20 states, including New York, and involved 200 stores. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman David McIntyre said the contaminated product poses little risk to human health, but noted it’s best to avoid unneeded radiation exposure, said The AP. it has now been removed from the web as well. The product is Dual Ridge Boutique model, model number (DR9M). “If someone has one of these, they could receive a small radiation dose from it,” McIntyre said, wrote the AP.
Bed, Bath & Beyond said no other stores in New York have received shipments of these items; however, the product has been available on Bed, Bath & Beyond’s website, where it has since been removed. Bed, Bath & Beyond has posted information at www.bedbathandbeyond.com and can also be reached, toll-free, at 1.800.462.3966.
Cobalt-60 is a man-made product that utilizes the element cobalt and is used, for instance to sterilize medical equipment and is a source for leveling devices and thickness gauges used during the production of metal products. Cobalt-60 has also been used for many years in radiation therapy for cancer patients, added The New York State Department of Health. Shah said that the products were not distributed to the public at the New York stores and there are no reports of prolonged exposure or illness resulting from contact with the products.
On January 10, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) notified Bed, Bath & Beyond and state health officials that the shipment of metal box tissue holders was found to contain the radioactive material. Bed, Bath & Beyond pulled the product from their sales floor. The New York store locations involved are:
- 950 Merchants Concourse, Westbury
- 25 Waterfront Place, Port Chester
- 251 Tarrytown Road, Elmsford
- 340 Walt Whitman Road, Huntington Station
The Department of Health, the NYS Office of Emergency Management (NYOEM), and local health officials visited the stores and confirmed that all twelve boxes are secured. “State Health Department and other State agencies are working closely with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Bed, Bath & Beyond, and local health officials to ensure consumers are safe,” said Commissioner Shah. The boxes were tested and confirmed to have low-level radioactivity, said state Health Department spokesman Mike Moran, wrote the AP.
McIntyre said the company received shipments of the tissue holders in July, August, and December; the December shipment contained 220 of the boxes and was found to contain contaminated products, said The AP. The firm continues its probe into other shipments and has asked consumers to return the tissue boxes for a full refund.
The contamination was discovered in California when two packages being sent to Bed, Bath & Beyond containing four tissue holders set off radiation alarms at truck scales, said the January 6 report posted on the NRC website, wrote The AP. The products were shipped from India and distributed by Tatara Group of Piscataway, New Jersey, added The AP.
The Nassau County Department of Health confirmed that the products were removed to a “safe location”; the county Health Commissioner stated that the products posed “no imminent public threat,” added The AP.