Hair Relaxer Products Caused Endometrial Cancer, Lawsuit Alleges

Toxic chemicals in ORS Olive Oil, Avlon Affirm, and other widely used hair relaxer products caused an Indiana woman to develop endometrial cancer, according to allegations raised in a new chemical hair straightener lawsuit. In the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana on March 8, 2023, Irene Sanderson states that her endometrial cancer diagnosis is the result of using ORS Olive Oil Hair Relaxer, Avlon Affirm Sensitive Scalp Relaxer, Dark & Lovely, and TCB Relaxer for years to straighten her hair. If you or someone you know developed uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, or another type of reproductive cancer after using chemical hair straighteners or relaxers, contact Consumer Safety Watch today. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, loss of quality of life, and other damages, which you can pursue by filing a hair relaxer lawsuit against the product manufacturers.

Chemical Hair Straighteners Marketed to Black Women

Chemical hair straighteners are lotions or creams meant to be applied to the scalp to smooth and straighten naturally curly, textured hair, making it easier to manage. For years, these products have been advertised by manufacturers as safe and effective for women who want their hair to remain straight until it grows out. Chemical straighteners are designed to alter the hair’s texture by deliberately damaging its natural protein structure, and the products have historically been marketed to young Black women who want to “tame” their natural hair. In light of recent research linking chemical hair straighteners to an increased risk of uterine cancer and other cancers, a growing number of lawsuits have been filed in courts across the country accusing hair relaxer manufacturers of targeting Black women with aggressive advertising and putting them at risk for uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and other serious injuries. 

Harmful Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Hair Straightener Products

According to emerging reports, chemical hair straighteners and relaxers like Avlon Affirm Sensitive Scalp Relaxer, ORS Olive Oil Hair Relaxer, Dark & Lovely, and TCB Relaxer contain toxic endocrine-disrupting chemicals, namely phthalates, which are known to increase the risk of cancer. These carcinogenic chemicals are absorbed into the body through direct contact with the skin of the scalp, and this can happen even faster when chemical hair straighteners cause burns and lesions in the scalp. According to Sanderson, it was prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals in hair relaxers that led to her 2021 diagnosis of medically inoperable stage IA serous carcinoma of the endometrium, an aggressive form of endometrial cancer. “EDCs [Endocrine disrupting chemicals] that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body may contribute to disease risk because exposure to estrogen, endogenously and exogenously, is associated with uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and other types of hormone-sensitive cancers,” Sanderson states in her complaint. “A woman’s lifetime risk of developing these hormone-sensitive cancers increases with greater duration and cumulative exposure.”

Courts nationwide have been flooded with lawsuits in the wake of recent research linking popular hair-straightening products to an increased cancer risk, particularly among Black women, who, research finds, are more likely to initiate hair relaxer use at a young age. In some studies, it has been reported that up to 90% of Black and Brown women have used chemical hair straighteners and relaxers, with use often beginning in the formative childhood or adolescent years. “[And] once relaxer use begins in childhood, it usually becomes a lifetime habit,” Sanderson’s lawsuit states. “The duration and frequency of use of these products [increase] the risk of permanent and debilitating diseases associated with long-term exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.” 

What kind of permanent and debilitating diseases? Troubling research published late last year in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women who reported frequently using chemical hair relaxers had a 156% increased risk of developing uterine cancer. Other studies have linked toxic hair straightener chemicals to an increased risk of breast cancer, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis.

Find Out if You are Eligible to File a Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit

Sanderson’s lawsuit joins a growing number of hair straightener cancer claims filed throughout the federal court system, all of which have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Mary Rowland in the Northern District of Illinois as part of a hair relaxer multidistrict litigation (MDL). It is ultimately expected that thousands of women will bring claims against hair straightener manufacturers like Avlon and L’Oreal in the coming months, as it becomes public knowledge that long-term exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair relaxers and straighteners may increase the risk of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, uterine fibroids, and other devastating injuries. Call our experts at Consumer Safety Watch today, if you believe you have been harmed by toxic hair relaxer chemicals. We are standing by, ready to help.

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