Elevated Risk of Ovarian Cancer Seen Among Hairdressers, Other Beauty Salon Workers

A new study looking at specific occupational exposures and ovarian cancer risk adds to growing concerns about the possible increased risk of cancer among women exposed to harmful chemicals in hair relaxers and straighteners. According to the research findings, hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, and other workers with occupational exposures to 18 specified agents, such as ammonia, cosmetic talc, and formaldehyde, were more than three times as likely to develop cancer compared to women working in other professions with no such exposures. If you have been diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness, and you believe occupational exposure to harmful substances or chemicals, like those found in chemical hair-straightening products, may be to blame, contact Consumer Safety Watch today to discuss your options.

Hair Relaxers, Straighteners Linked to Increased Cancer Risk

Chemical hair-straightening products have been used for decades by women with naturally curly or textured hair, to straighten their hair and make it easier to manage on a daily basis. However, serious concerns have been raised recently about the safety of routinely using these products, due to recent research findings linking the chemicals in hair relaxers and straighteners to uterine cancer and other cancers. Most notably, in a study published last October, researchers from the National Institutes of Health found that women who reported frequently using chemical hair straighteners were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer. The same research team previously reported an increased breast and ovarian cancer risk among women who use permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners.

Risk of Ovarian Cancer Tripled Among Workers in Beauty Industry 

In a new study published just last week in the medical journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Canadian researchers investigated “employment in an occupation or industry and specific occupational exposures in relation to ovarian cancer risk.” They collected lifetime occupational histories for 491 cases of ovarian cancer and 897 controls and found that specific occupational exposures among hairdressers, beauticians, and other retail workers significantly increased their risk of ovarian cancer. The researchers associated this elevated cancer risk with exposure to a number of harmful agents, including cosmetic talc, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, formaldehyde, and fluorocarbons. 

Compared to women working in other professions, those working in beauty salons faced a more than three times increased risk of ovarian cancer, the researchers concluded. After workers in the beauty industry (who had the highest risk overall) construction workers, accountants, sewers and embroiderers, and salespeople also faced a higher risk of ovarian cancer compared to those in other professions.

Hair Straightener Manufactures Face Hundreds of Lawsuits

The makers of popular chemical hair-straightening products like Just for Me, Dark & Lovely, Optimum, and Ultra Precise, now face hundreds of product liability lawsuits filed by women who blame their cancer diagnoses on exposure to parabens, formaldehyde, metals, bisphenol A, and other toxic chemicals. As of July 17, 2023, there are more than 230 hair relaxer lawsuits pending in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Illinois, where discovery is currently underway. Each hair straightener lawsuit raises similar allegations that hair straightener manufacturers put profits above patient safety and unnecessarily exposed countless women to harmful, endocrine-disrupting chemicals in their products. 

Find Out if You May be Eligible for Compensation

Women all over the country were shocked to find out last year that they may be more likely to develop cancer as a result of using chemical hair-straightening products they believed to be safe. If you or someone you love has been harmed by exposure to cancer-causing chemicals in hair relaxers, do not hesitate to speak to a reputable hair relaxer cancer attorney about your options for legal recourse. You may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or manufacturers, which may help you recover financial compensation for the harm you have suffered. If you want chemical hair straightener manufacturers to be held accountable for their actions, don’t wait to call. Our consumer advocates are here to help.

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