Bed, Bath & Beyond Pulls Radioactive Tissue Box Holders

Retailer says items pulled in "abundance of caution"

Friday, Jan 13, 2012  |  Updated 8:22 AM CDT
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Retailer Pulls Radioactive Tissue Holders

NY State Health Department

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Bed, Bath & Beyond has pulled metal tissue box holders that emit low levels of radiation from stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In a notice on its website, the retailer said the Dual Ridge Metal boutique tissue holders were carried in approximately 200 of its 1,000 stores in the United States and Canada and online since July.

In a phone call to the 800-number provided in the notice, the company confirmed the items were in stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area but would not elaborate on how many North Texas stores may have carried them.

In the notice on its website, Bed, Bath & Beyond said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the  tissue holders do not pose a threat to anyone's health. The agency told the retailer that the material is believed to be in the tissue holder itself and cannot be inhaled nor can it contaminate other objects, including tissues, the company said.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman David McIntyre told The Associated Press that there is little to no risk to human health, but it's better to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation.

"If someone has one of these, they could receive a small radiation dose from it," he said.

For example, he said someone keeping one of the boxes on a vanity in the bathroom and spending about 30 minutes a day near it for a year would receive the equivalent of a couple of chest x-rays.

"There's no real health threat from these, but we advise people to return them," he said.

The contamination was first discovered in California when two packages bound for Bed, Bath & Beyond stores in Santa Clara and San Jose containing four tissue holders triggered radiation alarms at truck scales, according to a Jan. 6 report posted on the NRC website.

The products were shipped from India through the port of Newark, N.J., the report said. The tissue holders are distributed by Tatara Group of Piscataway, N.J. The Dual Ridge line of products is described on the company's website as having a "brushed finish."

Authorities said the tissue holders contain manmade cobalt-60, which is used in medical devices and for other industrial applications.

Bed, Bath & Beyond said customers who have purchased the tissue holders can bring them to a store for a full refund. Customers with questions can call 800-462-3966.

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