Chemical Hair Straightener Ads Targeted Black Women, Failed to Disclose Health Risks: Lawsuit

The latest in a string of new chemical hair relaxer lawsuits alleges that Black women in the United States have been targeted with aggressive advertisements that encourage the use of chemical hair-straightening products without disclosing the serious health risks that these products may cause. The lawsuits point to recent research linking chemical hair straighteners to an increased risk of uterine cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other potentially life-threatening injuries, particularly among Black women. Contact Consumer Safety Watch today if you have been diagnosed with a serious illness like uterine cancer and you believe chemical hair relaxers to be the cause. You may be entitled to damages for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered, which you can pursue by filing a hair straightener cancer lawsuit against the allegedly negligent manufacturer.

Research Linking Hair Relaxers to Cancer

Serious concerns have been raised about the safety of popular chemical hair straighteners, in light of a recent study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which found that women who use hair relaxers and chemical straightening products may be more likely to develop uterine cancer. In the study, published in October 2022, researchers concluded that women who reported frequent use of chemical hair straighteners, defined as more than four times in the past year, were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer, compared to women who did not use the products. The uterine cancer study follows up on previous research, which linked chemical hair straighteners and hair dyes to an increased risk of breast cancer in women, particularly Black women.

Lawsuits Accuse Manufacturers of Failing to Disclose Hair Straightener Cancer Risks

This alarming new research has sparked an influx of lawsuits accusing chemical hair straightener manufacturers of failing to provide consumers with adequate warnings about the potential link between hair relaxers and cancer side effects. According to allegations raised in a new lawsuit filed late last month in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, companies like L’Oreal USA, Inc. and its Soft-Sheen Carson, LLC subsidiary have for years aimed their aggressive ads at Black women with naturally curly, textured hair, encouraging them to use chemical straighteners to “tame” their natural hair. The plaintiff in this latest lawsuit, Erika Williams, indicates that she developed uterine cancer as a direct result of her regular use of popular hair relaxer products, which she says exposed her to phthalates and other harmful endocrine-disrupting chemicals. 

The defendants named in Williams’ lawsuit manufacture and sell some of the best-selling chemical straighteners and perm products on the market in the U.S., including the brands Dark & Lovely, Motions, SmartPerm, and Africa’s Best. Williams joins a growing number of women nationwide who claim that toxic chemicals used in these products expose users to an increased risk of uterine cancer and other cancers, and that Black women face a disproportionately high risk of experiencing cancer side effects from chemicals hair relaxers, “Because Black women use hair straightening or relaxer products more frequently and tend to initiate use at earlier ages than other races and ethnicities,” as researchers in the NIH study stated.

Find Out if You May be Eligible to File a Claim

According to Williams’ legal claim, she first began using hair relaxers and perm products when she was only 11 years old, and regularly applied the products to her scalp on her own or had them applied by a professional at a hair salon, following the instructions provided by the manufacturers. Unfortunately, what these manufacturers allegedly failed to disclose to consumers is that the chemicals used in these hair-straightening products can cause cancer, even when used as directed. Williams states in her claim that she was first diagnosed with uterine endometrial adenocarcinoma in November 2013, after using hair relaxers like Dark & Lovely, Africa’s Best, Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil, and Motions for approximately 18 years. Wiliams was then diagnosed with a new manifestation of uterine endometrial adenocarcinoma in April 2017, and then again in June 2021. 

Unaware of the potential health risks associated with the products, Williams continued using chemical hair straighteners until November 2022, and as a result, has undergone numerous painful and debilitating procedures and will likely require a hysterectomy in the future to prevent the uterine cancer from recurring, as she states in her lawsuit. “There was never any indication, on the Products packaging or otherwise, that this normal use could and would cause her to develop uterine/endometrial cancer. Plaintiff Erika Williams still requires treatment for injuries to this day.” If you or someone you love routinely used chemical hair-straightening products like Dark & Lovely, Ultra Precise, Just for Me, or Optimum and has since been diagnosed with uterine cancer or another type of cancer, contact Consumer Safety Watch today to find out how we can help.

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