Radioactive Tissue Containers Found In Bed, Bath and Beyond

From RSOE EDIS

The level of radiation exposure from holding the tissue box against the body for one hour would be equivalent to a chest X-ray, said state health officials. Health officials said they’ve removed a dozen metal box tissue holders containing small amounts of radioactive material from four Bed, Bath and Beyond stores in New York.

None of the boxes were sold to the public, said the company. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission notified state health officials Tuesday that a shipment of metal box tissue holders to four Bed, Bath and Beyond stores were found to contain low levels of Cobalt-60. Cobalt-60, a man-made product using cobalt, has been used to sterilize medical equipment and in radiation therapy for cancer patients.

The level of radiation exposure from holding the tissue box against the body for one hour would be equivalent to a chest X-ray, said state health officials. The NRC said scrap metal containing Cobalt-60 could have inadvertently been incorporated into the product during smelting. The products arrived in a shipment from India on Dec. 27, and 220 were distributed to Bed Bath and Beyond stores nationwide.

Locally, 12 were distributed to a store in Nassau County, a store in Suffolk County, and two stores in Westchester County. Company representatives emphasized none were sold to the public and that no other stores in New York received shipments of the items. “The presence or handling of these boxes poses no imminent public health threat,” said Nassau County Health Commissioner Lawrence Einstein, M.D.

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