The Zimbabwean government through the Ministry of Health and Child Care has written to shops, pharmacies and other businesses instructing them to stop selling Purity Essential Baby Powder as the powder was tested by authorities and found to contain high levels of asbestos which causes cancer called mesothelioma. Zimbabwean businesses rely heavily on South African imports. Purity is made in South Africa but there is every chance that the contaminated batches of the products are already on the shelves of Zimbabwe

Purity is a well-known manufacturer of baby products. A few weeks ago Tiger Brands, one of the largest packaged goods companies on the continent detected asbestos in one of the raw materials that they use to make their talc-based baby powder. They are not the only ones to have issues over asbestos in baby powder. Johnson and Johnson recently announced they would be discontinuing the sale of baby talc powder over issues with asbestos contaminants. Tiger Brands is expected to continue selling its talc-based baby powder once the recall has been completed. Its products also can be found in South Africa Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Chile and Mozambique.

I can assure you that the testing that we did was unrelated to anything linked to J&J issues.While we found trace levels of asbestos in the raw material, we’ve acted to recall everything that’s on the market, despite the fact that previous testing did not show any trace levels.

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Noel Doyle Tiger Brands Chief Operating Officer