Lipitor Recall Shares Wood Pallet Treatment, Puerto Rico Connection

Pfizer recalled 191,000 bottles of Lipitor this August, following consumer concerns about musty odor. This is the third recent recall involving pharmaceutical products manufactured in Puerto Rico, following other recalls in the last year involving Tylenol and Glumetza.

The earlier ‘musty odor’ recalls were attributed to 2,4,6-tribromoanisole” or TBA. The condition results from a breakdown of another chemical called “tribromophenol” or TBP, which is used in some countries as a preservative on wooden pallets.TBA. TBP  was reportedly used in Brazil to treat pallet lumber that eventually was incorporated into Puerto Rican wood pallets, in the Tylenol case.

According to press reports, Pfizer has not yet determined if the TBA is related to fumigant treated wood pallets, but is working with its bottle supplier to ensure resolution of the problem.

TBP hasn’t been approved for use in the United States or Europe for about 15 years. The chemical, however, is used in South America, which can be a source of lumber for North American pallet makers. There are no other known health risks associated with the odor.

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