The retailer, headquartered in Union Township, N.J., said it was voluntarily recalling the boxes, which were sold in 200 of the company's 1,000 stores in the United States and Canada and on its Web site, out of an "abundance of caution."
Bed Bath & Beyond said it had carried the tissue holders since last July.
The company said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said there is no threat to anyone's health. The NRC said the radiation cannot be inhaled and cannot contaminate other objects -- such as tissues.
New York Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav R. Shah told The (White Plains, N.Y.) Journal News the tissue holders were contaminated with Cobalt-60, which is used to treat cancer patients. Shah said exposure to one of the boxes for an hour would be the equivalent of a chest X-ray.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission told local health officials scrap metal containing Cobalt-60 could have been inadvertently added during the smelting process, the newspaper said.
The Journal News said the problem came to light last Tuesday when a Bed Bath & Beyond truck loaded with the tissue holders set off a surveillance monitor in California.
Customers are advised to bring the tissue holders to their nearest store for a full refund. For more information, call 800-462-3966.