With a growing number of women alleging cancer and other injuries caused by exposure to toxic chemicals in hair-straightening products, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) is set to consider consolidating lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). Dozens of hair straightener and hair relaxer lawsuits have been brought against L’Oreal and other manufacturers so far, and this number has continued to climb as woman across the country have connected their cancer to years of using these potentially harmful products. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with uterine cancer, breast cancer, uterine fibroids, or another serious health condition you believe to be related to hair straightener use, contact Consumer Safety Watch today. You may have grounds to file an injury lawsuit against the manufacturer, and an experienced product liability lawyer can help with your claim.
The new hair straightener litigation focuses on the serious health risks associated with widely used chemical hair-straightening products like Optimum, Dark & Lovely, and Just for Me. These products have been marketed for decades as safe and effective, and manufacturers have specifically targeted Black women looking for a way to make their naturally curly or textured hair easier to manage. However, recent studies have found that the endocrine-disrupting chemicals used in hair-straightening creams, lotions, or conditioners may put women at a greater risk for cancer and other serious injuries. In one landmark study published in October 2022, researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that women who reported frequent use of hair relaxers or chemical hair straighteners were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer. An earlier study by the same team of researchers linked chemical hair straighteners and permanent hair dyes to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Recent discoveries about the link between hair straighteners, hair relaxers and cancer have led to lawsuits being filed in courts across the country by women who have been diagnosed with uterine cancer and other serious medical conditions. Each case raises similar allegations that chemical hair straightener and hair relaxer manufacturers made and sold defective and unreasonably dangerous products and failed to warn users that these products could cause uterine cancer, breast cancer, uterine fibroids, and other major side effects. By putting profits above patient safety, these manufacturers are accused of needlessly exposing women to serious and potentially life-threatening injuries that could have been avoided had the risk of adverse health effects been properly disclosed. According to researchers, black and minority women may be disproportionately affected by these alleged hair relaxer injuries due to a higher frequency of use.
Many women who use chemical hair straighteners and hair relaxers like Dark & Lovely, Optimum, Motions, and Ultra Precise have been using the products for decades, unaware of the fact that they may contain “hazardous chemicals with endocrine-disrupting and carcinogenic properties.” The researchers in the 2022 NIH study identified several cancer-causing chemicals, including formaldehyde, bisphenol A, metals, and parabens, as potential contributors to the increased uterine cancer risk they observed with hair straightener use. “Notably, chemical exposure through the pathway of hair product use, especially straighteners, could be more concerning than other personal care products,” the researchers cautioned. “Higher percutaneous absorption of chemicals has been observed in scalp compared with other skin [and] straightener use may cause scalp lesions and burns, which facilitates the permeability of chemicals through the scalp.”
Manufacturers of chemical hair-straightener products have been hit with a wave of cancer claims over the past several months, and thousands of additional claims are expected to be filed in the coming months and years. Given the similar nature of the complaints, a group of plaintiffs earlier this month filed a motion to centralize the hair straightener lawsuits before one U.S. District Judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings. Oral arguments to decide whether the hair relaxer lawsuits should be consolidated in an MDL have been scheduled for January 26, 2023. Contact Consumer Safety Watch right away if you think you may be eligible to join the growing chemical hair straightener litigation.