After a Virginia woman received an award of $110 million from a St. Louis, Missouri jury last week, more and more victims of mega-consumer products company Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powders are realizing that their ovarian cancer diagnosis may likely be a result of their decades-long use of those products.
Yesterday, two women from Gig Harbor, Washington announced they were filing a talcum powder suit against the company, claiming – as did others – that they were not warned about the dangers of using talc-based products for feminine hygiene purposes.
The powders were known to once contain small bits of asbestos, a toxic mineral better known for causing the cancer known as mesothelioma, though the company says there is no longer asbestos in its well-known talcum powders.
Sharon Sadler had not originally connected her ovarian cancer diagnosis with six decades of use of Johnson’s Baby Powder. She just thought she was unlucky.
“I was just bouncing along in 2015, the picture of health, enjoying life,” Sadler said from her Gig Harbor home on a bucolic golf course by the water. “I used to golf three times a week.”
In June of that year, she was diagnosed with the deadly cancer after suffering severe stomach pains.
Sadler is now focused on her belief that the powder she used from childhood into her later years is the cause of her cancer.
“I grew up, that’s all we had in the house, Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder. From puberty on, I was told that’s what you use to freshen up your lady parts,” Sadler told a reporter from KOMO News in Gig Harbor, a quiet city on the shores of the Puget Sound. “I used it for over 60 years…daily.”
Four times since 2016, women like Sadler have received multi-million dollar awards for their suffering, with juries deciding that J&J did not do what it took to warn female consumers of the risks associated with talcum powder use in the genital area.
Two other cases were dismissed and one jury found in favor of Johnson and Johnson due to lack of evidence.
But the evidence is indeed there, says the attorney for Sadler and fellow ovarian cancer sufferer, Jennifer Miles. Studies that stretch as far back as the early 1980s show a definitive connection between genital talcum powder exposure and ovarian cancer.
Plaintiff Miles claims she also used J&J talcum-based products since puberty to “freshen up” each day. She began using Johnson’s Baby Powder in her teens and then later switched to the company’s Shower-to-Shower product because it had a more mature smell, she told the press.
It wasn’t until she heard about the cases that made it to court that she realized her talc use may have caused her cancer.
Though they are seeking monetary damages, the two women maintain that their primary reason for suing is to send a message to the company and to warn other women about their plight
“If that connection is there, I think people should know about it,” said Sadler.
“I don’t want anyone else to get hurt. I don’t want somebody to go through what I went through, it’s terrible,” Miles agreed.