L’Oréal Hair Relaxer Caused Uterine Cancer, According to a Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit

Women who use chemical hair straighteners have been warned about an increased risk of developing uterine cancer and endometrial cancer due to the presence of certain chemicals in those products. A recent study has found a link between these chemicals and this type of cancer, prompting many women to file lawsuits against the manufacturers of the products they use. L’Oréal is one such company that has been targeted by multiple lawsuits alleging their relaxers caused uterine cancer.

In February 2023, Judge Mary M. Rowland of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved the consolidation of chemical hair straightener lawsuits into a multi-district litigation (MDL) involving hair relaxer marketing sales practices and product liability litigation (MDL No. 3060). This followed the approval of a $2 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against L’Oréal USA over claims that the company failed to warn women about the risks associated with using hair straighteners and relaxers.

On March 3, 2023, the court approved the leadership of the MDL to include our partner, Lee Adair Floyd, as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. In this position, Lee’s role will be to effectively and efficiently represent the common interests of all MDL plaintiffs. Learn more about the current litigation and what you need to know if you have used these products, suffered injury or illness, and feel you have a potential case against the manufacturers.

A new study suggests a possible link between chemical hair straightening products and Uterine Cancer 

In 2017, researchers conducted a study to investigate the link between chemical hair straighteners and uterine cancer. They looked at data collected over a period of 10 years from 3,500 women who had been diagnosed with uterine cancer compared to 4,700 women without cancer.

The results of the study showed that women who had used chemical hair straighteners were 2.5 times more likely to develop uterine cancer than those who had not. In addition, other studies showed a similar link between chemical hair straighteners and increased risk of endometrial cancer.

A 2022 study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) collected data on 33,497 U.S. women ages 35-74 over an 11 year period. During that time 378 uterine cancer cases were diagnosed. The researchers found that women who reported frequent use of hair straightening products, defined as more than four times in the previous year, were more than twice as likely to go on to develop uterine cancer compared to those who did not use the products.

Is it possible that chemical hair straightening or hair relaxers cause cancer?

The exact cause of uterine cancer is not known, but researchers believe that exposure to certain chemicals found in hair relaxers can increase the risk. These chemicals include sodium hydroxide, ammonium thioglycolate, sodium thioglycolate, formaldehyde, cyclosiloxanes, parabens, diethanolamine, phthalates, benzophenone-3 and triclosan. All of these are known endocrine disruptors, which means they interfere with the body’s hormone regulation. There is evidence that exposure to these chemicals could lead to an increased risk of developing certain cancers, including uterine cancer.

The first lawsuit has been filed alleging that a L’Oréal hair relaxer product caused endometrial cancer.

A former beauty pageant contestant has filed a lawsuit against L’Oréal USA, Inc., alleging that the company did not properly warn consumers about the potential dangers of certain hair relaxers containing toxic chemicals. Jennifer Mitchell claims that using these hair relaxers led to her developing endometrial cancer at the age of 28.

Mitchell stated that she began using hair relaxers in high school and continued to do so throughout college. After becoming pregnant with her daughter, she stopped using the product but later discovered that she had developed cancer after giving birth. Mitchell believes that she was exposed to toxins present in the hair relaxers and is suing L’Oréal USA for failing to adequately caution customers about the potential risks.

Why is the risk of cancer potentially increased when using lye-containing products?

Lye is a highly alkaline chemical used in the production of hair straighteners and relaxers. The use of these products has been related to an increased risk of cancer in black women, notably uterine cancer. The high pH of lye-containing items is thought to cause cell damage in the uterus, potentially leading to cancer formation. Furthermore, some lye-containing products contain other compounds that may be toxic and raise the risk of cancer. Consumers should be conscious of the potential dangers connected with the use of lye-containing hair care products and consider alternative methods of hair styling.

The use of chemical hair straighteners and relaxers has been linked to an increased risk of uterine and other types of cancer. A recent study published in the journal JNCI found that women who reported using hair straighteners at least four times per year had a 2.4 times greater chance of developing uterine cancer than those who did not use such products.

Is this cancer risk more prevalent among black women?

According to a recent study, black women may be at a higher risk of developing uterine cancer due to their higher use of chemical hair straighteners. Researchers analyzed data from 3,895 women enrolled in the NIH-AARP Diet & Health Study and found that black women were significantly more likely than white women to report using these hair styling products.

Further analysis showed that black women who used chemical hair straighteners had a 59.9% greater chance of being diagnosed with uterine cancer compared to white women who did not use hair straighteners.

No association was found between the use of hair products and the likelihood of developing uterine cancer among other races. The study’s authors theorized that this might be because black women tend to have shorter hair and therefore use hair straighteners more frequently. They also pointed out that black women, who make up just 7.4% of the study’s participants, accounted for 59.9% of the women who reported using chemical hair straighteners.

Is the cancer risk from chemical hair straighteners and relaxers disproportionately higher for black women?

According to the American Association of Dermatologists, black women are the primary consumers of chemical hair straighteners and relaxing shampoos, using these products at twice the rate of white women.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that black women are three times more likely to develop uterine cancer than white women. This increased risk may be due to the high usage of hair straighteners among black women or the concurrent use of multiple hair care products that could increase exposure to harmful ingredients.

Are chemical hair straighteners and relaxers required to receive FDA approval?

While cosmetics such as hair relaxers and straighteners are not required to undergo FDA approval prior to being sold in stores, they are still subject to regulation under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) of 1938. This means that companies must follow certain guidelines to ensure the safety and effectiveness of their products.

For example, they cannot add harmful ingredients or mislead customers with false claims, and they must provide information about the proper use and any potential risks associated with their products. Additionally, cosmetics companies must register their products with the FDA, list the active ingredients on their labels, and notify the agency of any changes to the appearance of their products. To ensure safety, companies must also test their products and report any problems that arise. In order to ensure compliance with the FD&C Act, companies are required to keep records of their testing and other relevant information.

Based on the current regulatory framework in the United States, it is the duty of the manufacturers of cosmetics to assess the safety and risks of their products. Furthermore, it is their duty to warn consumers if there is a health hazard associated with their products. As studies have shown, there is scientific proof that the use of hair relaxers, straighteners and hair dyes is dangerous due to the endocrine-disrupting chemicals they contain and manufacturers failed to adequately communicate these dangers.

Which types of cancers are our personal injury lawyers currently examining in relation to this litigation?

There are ongoing studies investigating the potential connection between certain chemicals found in hair relaxers and an increased risk of various types of cancer, including endometrial cancer and uterine cancer. 

One study published in 2017 found that women who used permanent wave products had a 30% higher risk of developing endometrial cancer compared to those who did not use such products.

The American Academy of Dermatology advises consumers to stop using chemical relaxers, warning that excessive use can cause damage to hair including breakage, split ends, dryness, and brittleness. This cosmetic warning doesn’t even take into account the cancer risks that other studies are showing. 

Who Are The Manufacturers of Hair Relaxers and Hair Straightener Products in the United States?

Eight companies are being sued in federal court for allegedly selling hair straightening devices that can cause severe burns and even death. These include:

  • Dark and Lovely
  • Just for Me
  • L’Oreal
  • Motions
  • Namaste
  • Olive Oil Girls
  • Optimum
  • Soft & Beautiful
  • Strength of Nature Global LLC
  • TCB Naturals

The lawsuit claims that the manufacturers did not adequately warn consumers about the risks associated with their products, and knew that they could cause serious injury, but still sold them. 

The defendants are accused of violating the Consumer Product Safety Act. The plaintiffs, who are seeking damages, include five women who claim to have sustained third-degree burns from using the hair straighteners, as well as one woman who died of uterine cancer.

What evidence is needed to establish a connection between the use of chemical hair products and the development of cancer, infertility, or other health conditions?

In order to prove a causal relationship between the use of chemical hair products and the development of endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, infertility, or other health conditions, it would be necessary to present evidence such as medical records and expert testimony. 

Medical records could include documentation of the use of chemical hair products, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of any related health conditions. Expert testimony could come from medical professionals who are knowledgeable about the potential risks associated with the use of chemical hair products and the specific health condition in question. It may also be necessary to consider any other potential factors that could have contributed to the development of the health condition, such as genetics, lifestyle, and environmental exposures. 

Overall, it would be important to carefully evaluate all of the available evidence in order to establish a strong case linking the use of chemical hair products to the development of certain health conditions.

What criteria must be met to be eligible for a chemical hair straightener claim?

There are a few key considerations that may influence an individual’s decision to pursue legal action against the manufacturer of chemical hair straighteners:

  • Use of chemical hair straightening products
  • Age at which the products were first used (adolescence or later in life)
  • Duration of use (for several years)
  • Method of application (professional or at-home)

What steps are involved in suing the makers of potentially harmful hair products?

There has been an increase in legal action taken against manufacturers of chemical hair relaxers, which are used to straighten hair and are often found in popular brands such as Schwarzkopf, Redken, L’Oréal, Deva Curl, Aveda, Sally Hansen, Kérastase, Bumble & Bumble, and Kerastase. 

These products may contain formaldehyde, a carcinogen that is also found in household items like furniture, carpets, and clothing. Long-term exposure to formaldehyde can increase the risk of cancer. If you have used one of these products and are concerned about potential health effects, you may want to speak with a lawyer who specializes in hair relaxer cases (i.e. defective product cases) to discuss your options.

Is there a time constraint for pursuing legal action?

Many states have laws that establish a time frame within which a lawsuit must be filed against a product manufacturer for defects or injuries. 

These deadlines, also known as statutes of limitations, can vary depending on the nature of the product, the amount of damages sought, and the type of legal action being taken (individual or class action). Generally, a claim must be filed within two years of the date that the injury or defect was discovered or should have been discovered. Statutes of limitations differ from state to state, so it is important to consult with a lawyer to determine the applicable deadline for your case.

What financial compensation may be sought through a hair relaxer lawsuit?

A chemical hair straightener lawsuit could provide compensation for damages such as medical bills, missed work days, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more. A plaintiff must prove that she suffered harm due to her use of a product that was defective or unreasonably dangerous. 

If you’ve had to take some time off of work or have been unable to work because you’re ill, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your lost wages and/or the loss of your earning ability.  You may even be entitled to recovery for out-of-pocket costs related to treatment, including medical bills, prescriptions, doctor visits, hospital stays, and other expenses.

Qualifying for a claim

Have you  received a diagnosis of uterine cancer or endometrial cancer after using hair straighteners? If so, it may be worth investigating the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the product manufacturer. 

The experienced team at Breit Biniazan can help you determine if you have a case. One of our lead attorneys for product liability cases, Lee Floyd, is on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for this mass tort litigation. Call 855-212-8200 to get connected with our team.

Don’t Settle, Hire the Best Trial Lawyers in the State

  • History of Excellence: Long tradition of success in court
  • Experienced Professionals: Over 200 years of combined legal experience
  • Award-Winning Attorneys: Attorneys have been recognized among the most experienced trial lawyers in Virginia and the country
  • Client Commitment: Dedicated to providing our clients with the attention they deserve from start to finish
  • Honorable Service: No recovery, no legal fee
  • Industry Leaders: Leadership roles in the legal community
  • Proven Results: Secured some of the largest settlements in Virginia history