Hair relaxer lawsuits are being filed by women who claim that the chemicals caused their uterine cancer, fibroids, endometriosis, and breast cancer.
What You Can Do & How We Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting hair relaxer induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or breast cancer after using hair relaxers or chemical hair-straightening products, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
UPDATE: More Than 100+ Hair Relaxer Lawsuits Filed Nationwide
By May 2023, more than 100 hair relaxer lawsuits had been filed nationwide. Lawyers also created a Master Complaint that can be used by everyone who wishes to join the federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL). This document is a template that outlines the common allegations against defendants, such as L’Oreal, who are accused of selling hair relaxers with dangerous chemicals.
Hair Relaxer Lawsuits Nationwide Centralized in Illinois
In February 2023, a panel of federal judges agreed to consolidate dozens of hair relaxer lawsuits into a single Multi-district Litigation (MDL #3060) under U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland in the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago – In Re: Hair Relaxer Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation. Click here to read more.
Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Filed by Woman With Uterine Cancer
In October 2022, the first hair relaxer lawsuit was filed against L’Oreal and other beauty companies by Jenny Mitchell, a black woman from Missouri who used hair relaxers for decades to straighten her hair.
In the lawsuit, Mitchell claims that she was exposed to toxic phthalates and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair relaxers, which caused her to develop uterine cancer when she was only 28 years old.
Just a few weeks after her diagnosis, she underwent a hysterectomy, forever depriving her of the ability to have children.
The lawsuit accuses companies like L’Oreal of failing to warn women that hair relaxers contain toxic chemicals that are carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting, which could increase their risk of cancer and other severe side effects, such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis.
The lawsuit was filed against multiple beauty companies, including:
- L’Oreal (manufacturer of Dark & Lovely® and Optimum® hair relaxers)
- Namaste Laboratories (Olive Oil Girls®)
- Strength of Nature LLC (Just for Me®, Motions®, Soft & Beautiful® and TCB Naturals®)
- Dabur International (Dabur Amla®, Organic Root Stimulator ORS Olive Oil Relaxer®)
- Soft Sheen-Carson (Optimum®, Dark and Lovely®)
The Hair Relaxer Lawsuit was filed on October 21, 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois — Case Number 1:22-cv-05815.
What Are Hair Relaxers?
Some of the most popular brands of hair relaxers include:
- Dark & Lovely (L’Oreal and SoftSheen)
- Optimum (L’Oreal and SoftSheen)
- Motions (Strength of Nature)
- Just for Me (Strength of Nature)
- ORS Olive Oil (Dabur and Namaste)
- African Pride (Strength of Nature and Godrej SON Holdings)
- Bantu (SoftSheen Carson)
- Cantu (PDC Brands)
- Ultra Precise
- TCB Naturals (Strength of Nature)
- Africa’s Best
- Creme of Nature (Revlon)
- Mizani Rhelaxer (L’Oreal)
- Soft & Beautiful
- Ultra Sheen Supreme
- Revlon Realistic (Revlon)
- Protectiv Mega Growth (Strength of Nature)
- Dream Kids (Strength of Nature)
- Dr. Miracle’s (Strength of Nature)
- Hawaiian Silky (JF Labs)
- Design Essentials (McBride)
- Affirm (Avlon)
- Africa’s BEst (House of Cheatham)
- Pink Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer (Luster)
- Smooth Touch No-Lye Relaxer (Luster)
- Silk Elements (Sally Beauty)
- And more
Health Risks Linked to Hair Relaxers
- Ovarian Cancer
- Breast cancer
- Uterine cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Uterine fibroids
- And more
History of Hair Relaxers in the U.S.
The first lye-based chemical hair relaxers were manufactured in the 1970s by Dark and Lovely, but these stripped hair proteins and made the hair brittle and thin. In the 1980s, Johnson & Johnson began marketing the first “gentle” hair relaxers, which used milder chemicals.
Over time, a variety of chemical hair-straightening products entered the marketplace. Many of these products were advertised to have milder formulas with olive oil, botanical or herbal ingredients.
What is the Problem?
Unfortunately, many of these “gentle” hair relaxers also contained hazardous chemicals like formaldehyde or phthalates like DEHP.
Some of the toxic chemicals in hair relaxers are known to cause cancer or mimic hormones like estrogen, which could explain why they are linked to reproductive side effects like endometriosis, breast cancer or infertility.
Despite these life-threatening risks, few women who use hair relaxers (or their hair stylists) really know what chemicals they are putting in their hair.
Study Links Hair Relaxers and Doubled Risk of Uterine Cancer
In October 2022, a groundbreaking study found that women who used hair relaxers were twice as likely to develop uterine cancer.
The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, estimated that 4% of women who used hair relaxers at least 4 times per year would be diagnosed with uterine cancer by the time they were 70 years old, compared to just 1.6% of women who did not use hair relaxers.
The conclusions of the study were based on data from nearly 34,000 women in the U.S. who said they used hair treatments. The study also looked at other hair products, like dyes and perms, but only hair relaxers and chemical straighteners were associate with uterine cancer.
Why Are Hair Relaxers So Risky?
The researchers theorized that these chemical hair relaxing treatments could be riskier than other products because the chemicals commonly cause burns and abrasions to the scalp, which could provide a pathway through broken skin for the chemicals to be absorbed into the body.
What is DEHP?
Many hair relaxers contain an ingredient called DEHP (di-2-ethylhexylphthalate), which belongs to a family of chemicals called phthalates. These chemicals are known to cause significant adverse health effects, including endometriosis, developmental abnormalities, reproductive dysfunction, infertility, cancer, and metabolic syndromes.
Uterine cancer is a life-threatening side effect that has been linked to phthalate metabolites that are found in chemical hair relaxers. Every year, around 65,000 women are diagnosed with uterine cancer in the U.S., and Black women have twice the risk of developing uterine cancer compared to other women.
Uterine fibroids, also called leiomyomas or myomas, are tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. They are usually non-cancerous, but sometimes contain cancerous cells.
While most fibroids are small, they can potentially grow quite large (up to several pounds) and cause severe pain and heavy bleeding. Fibroids are the most common reason why doctors recommend a hysterectomy, particularly when the fibroids are causing pain, heavy bleeding, or the fibroid is suspected to be cancerous.
Endometriosis is a painful, estrogen-dependent disease that occurs when cells from the inner lining of the uterus grow in other parts of the body. It can cause pain, very heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding in between periods, and infertility.
Breast cancer tends to be more aggressive in Black women, which is why they have the highest rate of death due to breast cancer than any other ethnic or racial group.
In 2019, a study published in the International Journal of Cancer warned that women who regularly used hair relaxers or dyes were 9% more likely to develop breast cancer. Women who used hair relaxers at least every 5 to 8 weeks had a 30% higher risk of breast cancer.
Do I have a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting hair relaxer induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis or breast cancer after using hair relaxers or chemical hair-straightening products, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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