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Bed Bath & Beyond Products Recalled for Radioactive Contamination

Given what’s on it, you probably wouldn’t want to rub it on your face.

That’s what federal regulators are saying about tissues that have been contained in metal tissue holders distributed by Bed Bath & Beyond stores. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the tissue-box holders were contaminated with low levels of radioactive material.

Bed Bath & Beyond, a multinational domestic merchandise conglomerate, allegedly sold the products in more than twenty states, including Illinois; in a recent public statement, Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc. said that its Dual Ridge Metal boutique tissue holder has been carried in about 200 of its stores since July.

Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc. operates a chain of almost 1000 stores that pander mid-ranged home furnishings that are primarily intended – as the name suggest – for the bathroom and the bedroom. The corporation is counted among the Fortune 500, and the Forbes 2000 list of successful businesses.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, a spokesperson for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission stated that the domestic goods company has recalled the tissue holder from stores, but that there is no serious threat to human health. Nevertheless, Bed Bath & Beyond has retracted the product after state health officials pulled 12 contaminated boxes from the shelves of one of the retail stores, claiming that it’s better to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation.

Moreover, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency says there is “no immediate threat” posed by decorative tissue box holders, and that it is coordinating with federal officials and Bed, Bath & Beyond, Inc. to identify and secure the contaminated products.

Authorities say the tissue holders contain manmade cobalt-60 radioactive material. Cobalt-60 is a synthetic radioactive isotope of cobalt, a silver-grey naturally occurring metal that is often used to create blue pigments. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, cobalt-60, the radioactive version of the metal, is used to detect structural flaws in metal parts, as well as in product sterilization.

When a person or animal is exposed to cobalt-60, though most of the radioactive material is excreted in feces, a small portion is absorbed by the kidney, liver, and bones; prolonged exposure may lead to radiation poisoning and cancer.

The symptoms of radiation poisoning depends largely on the dose of radiation exposure. Relatively small doses – as may be the case with the decorative tissue boxes – may present in gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting.

When a corporation manufactures and distributes products to the public, that company is responsible for any injuries caused by dangerous or defective products. Businesses are expected to test their products prior to putting them on the market to ensure public safety. When defects affect consumers, those companies can be liable for damages resulting from the injuries their merchandise causes. This is how Chicago personal injury lawsuits arise.

When companies are held responsible in Illinois product liability lawsuits they may be made to pay compensatory damages, which attempt to put an injured person back in the position he or she was in before being injured, such as compensation for medical and hospital expenses, and the loss of a normal life following the injury. Additionally, in some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded; punitive damages are intended to punish wrongdoers and send a message to the responsible corporation and other companies to be more careful in the future.

Bed Bath & Beyond is recalling all of the “brushed metal” tissue boxes, and is asking any customers who bought them to return them for a full refund.

Nevertheless, if you or a loved one have been harmed as a result of this – or any other – defective product, contact an attorney to better understand your rights under the law.