by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
According to reports, the tissue holders in question are made with manmade cobalt-60, a synthetic radioactive isotope of cobalt. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists cobalt-60 as a cancer-causing material because it emits "powerful gamma rays" of ionizing radiation that are known to cause cancer. The agency also indicates that cobalt-60 is a "significant threat" to health.
Though they believe that at least 200 stores in 20 states were carrying the product, federal regulators are still working with Bed, Bath & Beyond to figure out exactly where the radioactive tissue holders were distributed. Reports say the holders originally came from India, were shipped through the port of Newark, NJ, and were distributed by the Tatara Group of Piscataway, NJ.
In New York, health officials pulled the tainted products from store shelves in Westbury, Port Chester, Elmsford, and Huntington Station. In Chicago, at least two stores carrying the tainted products were identified, according to reports, while most others in the state of Illinois are believed to have not been carrying them.
Because of its radioactive properties, cobalt-60 does not belong in any consumer products in the first place, and customers must always perform due diligence in determining the contents of products before they purchase them. And regardless of whether or not the experts are willing to admit it, any exposure to ionizing radiation is a health hazard and should be avoided at all costs.