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Bed, Bath and Beyond Recalls Radioactive Tissue Boxes

The home furnishing chain is recalling metal tissue boxes that may be contaminated with cobalt-60.

Get a tingling feeling when you blow your nose? Hopefully it's just hay fever, not a radioactive tissue box.

Bed, Bath and Beyond is having metal tissue boxes it sold since Aug. 2011 recalled because they may be radioactive, according to the California Department of Public Health.

It seems the product called “Dual Ridge Metal Boutique tissue boxes,” model number DR9M, may contain radioactive cobalt-60. Anyone who bought one of the boxes is encouraged to return it to the store. (They look like the box in the above photo.)

How does a radioactive substance get into a tissue box?

The CDPH says in India, where the boxes are made, scrap metal containing cobalt-60 could have strayed into a metal load that was smelted into these boxes. Apparently the radioactive substance is used to sterilize medical equipment, and as cancer radiation therapy.

If that's what happened with these boxes, it wouldn't be the first time. In 2000, workers in Thailand disassembled a teletherapy machine containing radioactive metal.

About a month later, after leaving the machine in a junk yard, several of the workers reported feeling ill. Specifically, the workers experienced, itching, burning, weight-loss, hair-loss and vomiting. Three of the junkyard workers later died.

The suspicious tissue boxes were sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond stores throughout California; however, the CDPH indicates that none were sold in the Monrovia store. The boxes were sold out of the Pasadena branch, however.

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