ELMSFORD, N.Y. – Shoppers had no qualms about entering the Bed, Bath and Beyond store on Tarrytown Road Friday morning after hearing about a recall of metal tissue box covers that contained traces of a radioactive element.
None of the eight contaminated products shipped to Westchester County were sold at the Elmsford store. The county's health department visited Wednesday and Thursday to confirm that the contaminated covers were taken off shelves, awaiting removal.
"A tissue box covering – how can that be?" said Janet Maday, a 25-year Greenburgh resident who intends to continue shopping at the store. "It's a very strange world and all kinds of things can happen. I don't think it was intentional by the store. But it will sharpen their cautions."
The New York State Department of Health and the state's Office of Emergency Management issued a notification Wednesday that the tissue box covers contained hints of the radioactive Cobalt 60. The Cobalt 60 is suspected to have been fused into the covers during the smelting process, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The products allegedly arrived on Dec. 27 in a shipment from India.
"I'm sure that this store did whatever they could do," said William Allan, who was shopping with his wife and has lived in Elmsford since 1958. "We like this store very much."
Port Chester was the only other Bed, Bath and Beyond store in the county to also receive contaminated covers. The health department took the same precautions to remove the recalls. While eight contaminated covers were shipped to the two stores in the county, 220 were distributed nationwide.
"Nuclear regulatory authorities have assured us these tissue box covers pose no immediate threat to anyone's health," said Sherlita Amler, M.D., commissioner of health. "The NRC also told us that the material is believed to be in the tissue cover, itself, and cannot be inhaled, nor can it contaminate other objects such as tissues."