L’Oreal, Other Hair Relaxer Manufacturers Withheld Cancer Risk from Users for Decades, Lawsuit Alleges

One of the latest in a long line of hair relaxer cancer lawsuits filed in recent months alleges that L’Oreal and other cosmetic brands knew about the potential for their chemical hair-straightening products to cause cancer and withheld this risk from consumers for decades. As a result, Black women, “who make up the overwhelming majority of [people who use] hair straightening and hair relaxing products” routinely applied products like Ultra Precise, Dark & Lovely, Optimum, Motions, and Just for Me to their hair, with no knowledge of the possible harm to which they were exposing themselves. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer and you believe a chemical hair straightener or hair relaxer to be the cause, contact Consumer Safety Watch today. You may qualify for financial compensation for your injuries, which you can pursue by filing a hair relaxer lawsuit against the manufacturing company. 

Chemical Hair Straighteners Linked to Cancer Risk

Chemical hair straighteners and hair relaxers are popular products among women who want to permanently straighten and smooth their naturally curly, frizzy, or textured hair. These products work by weakening the disulfide bonds that make up curly hair, thereby altering the makeup of the hair. The result is straight hair that lasts longer and is easier to style. What women who have been chemically straightening their hair for years are just now discovering, however, is that these popular hair products contain dozens of harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, Bisphenol A, and Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), many of which are carcinogens or endocrine-disrupters. In fact, research has shown that women who regularly use hair relaxers are more likely to develop hormone-related cancers, such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine fibroids. 

Hair Relaxer Lawsuits Seeking Compensation for Cancer, Other Injuries

More than 100 chemical hair straightener lawsuits have already been consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), and new lawsuits continue to be filed in federal and state courts across the country. This latest lawsuit was filed by Charlotte Bowers, who claims that her use of chemical hair relaxers like Dark & Lovely, Optimum, and Ultra Precise led to her endometrial cancer diagnosis. Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cells that form the lining of the uterus. It is a slow, gradually growing cancer, but over time, it can spread through the lymphatic system, tissues, and blood.

Bowers’ lawsuit names as defendants L’Oreal, Soft Sheen-Carson, Godrej SON Holdings, and Avlon Industries. According to Bowers, she used the defendants’ hair relaxer products regularly for approximately 40 years, beginning in about 1982 at the age of 22. She was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in July 2022 and claims that her “injuries were directly and proximately caused by her regular and prolonged exposure to phthalates, other endocrine-disrupting and other harmful chemicals found in Defendants’ hair care products.” Bowers’ claims echo similar allegations raised in hair straightener and hair relaxer lawsuits filed in courts across the country by women who have been diagnosed with endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other cancers after regular use of chemical hair straightening products or hair relaxers. 

Each chemical hair straightener lawsuit raises similar allegations that manufacturers put profits ahead of patient safety and failed to warn consumers that endocrine-disrupting chemicals in their products could put them at risk for cancer. These legal claims first began to emerge last year, after a study led by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) found that women who frequently used chemical hair relaxers were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer compared to women who never used the products. The same team of scientists previously linked frequent use of chemical hair straighteners to a 30% increased risk of breast cancer. Researchers have also warned that these adverse health outcomes may disproportionately affect women of color, who tend to use hair relaxers more frequently and initiate use at a younger age. 

Find Out if You May be Eligible for Compensation

For decades, women have used chemical hair relaxers to straighten curly, kinky, or textured hair and make it easier to manage. Now, many of these women are facing devastating cancer diagnoses, which they say they could have avoided had manufacturers been upfront and disclosed the potential risk of cancer associated with the chemicals used in their products. If you routinely used a hair relaxer or chemical hair-straightener product like Dark & Lovely, Optimum, or Ultra Precise to straighten your hair and you have since been diagnosed with endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, breast cancer, uterine fibroids, or another adverse health condition, contact an experienced hair relaxer cancer attorney right away to find out if you may be eligible for compensation from the manufacturer.

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