Have you heard of the chemical 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA)? It gained a little bit of notoriety recently when McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled several over-the-counter (OTC) products, including Tylenol Arthritis Pain capsules with the Ez-Open cap and Tylenol Extra Strength, some children's medicines and Rolaids.
Consumers complained that the products had “an unusual moldy, musty or mildew-like odor that in a small number of cases, was associated with temporary and non-serious gastrointestinal events, including nausea, stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea." The ensuing investigation found trace amounts of the chemical TBA, which was the result of a breakdown of a wood preservative that is often used to treat wood pallets used in packing and storage. (For those of you who are wine connoisseurs, you might already have heard of TBA and its association to wine taint.)
As someone who takes Tylenol for sinus headaches and migraines, it's nice to know that the tainted pills were not life threatening. This according to ABC News Senior Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser. "It does not look like there were serious health effects, if any," he said, "but why take a chance? These products are supposed to improve your health, not hurt it." Yeah, you kind of want your pain relievers to actually relieve pain not induce it.
According to its press release about the recall, McNeil Consumer Healthcare says that it will continue the investigation and in the meantime is discontinuing use of those wooden pallets and requiring that its suppliers do so as well.
For those of you who use wood pallets to ship products are you concerned about TBA contamination, particularly if your products - for instance, countertops - come into contact with food?
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.