With more and more women nationwide pursuing claims against the manufacturers of chemical hair straighteners and relaxers over uterine cancer, breast cancer, and other injuries allegedly linked to the products, a motion has been filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to centralize the lawsuits before one judge in a multidistrict litigation (MDL). It is expected that hundreds of claims will ultimately be filed by women who developed cancer after using relaxers and chemical straighteners. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious health condition you believe to be related to toxic chemicals in a hair-straightening product, do not hesitate to contact Consumer Safety Watch for information. You may be eligible to file a claim to pursue financial compensation for your injuries.
Over the past several years, there have been increasing concerns about the safety of widely used chemical hair straighteners and relaxers, due to what research has shown may be a significant cancer risk. In October 2022, research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute warned that frequent use of these products may more than double the risk of uterine cancer in women, particularly in Black women, who tend to use hair relaxers and straighteners more frequently and initiate use at a younger age. The researchers linked the cancer risk to the presence of hazardous chemicals with endocrine-disrupting and carcinogenic properties. In addition to uterine cancer, previous studies have linked chemical hair product use to a higher risk of hormone-sensitive cancers, including breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
So far, at least nine chemical hair relaxer lawsuits involving claims by 13 plaintiffs have been filed in four different federal district courts against L’Oreal and other manufacturers. Each lawsuit involves similar allegations that popular products used to chemically straighten hair, including the brands Just for Me, Dark & Lovely, and Optimum, caused women to suffer uterine cancer, breast cancer, infertility, and other serious health problems. These products are aggressively marketed to women, primarily women of color, as a means of straightening curly, textured, or natural hair and making it easier to manage. However, plaintiffs in the litigation argue that the products contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) like parabens, metals, formaldehyde, and bisphenol A, which have been shown to cause serious health problems, not the least of which is cancer.
As women across the country learn that their chemical hair straightener use may have caused their cancer, a growing number of manufacturers are expected to face lawsuits filed by users who claim that they knew that their products may put women at risk for long-term health problems, yet continued to market the products without any warnings. Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints involving injuries allegedly caused by a range of chemical hair-straightening products, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion this week requesting that all hair relaxer lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country be centralized before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings. “Defendants knew or should have known that their hair relaxer products were dangerous and defective because they contain highly toxic EDCs and they manufactured, marketed, and sold them anyway,” the motion states. “The only material difference among some of the Actions is the specific hair relaxer product(s) purchased and used by Plaintiffs.”
The unfolding account of the potential link between chemical hair relaxers and cancer is just the latest example of a beauty product marketed to consumers as safe putting users at risk for serious and unnecessary health problems. Much like the presence of cancerous asbestos fibers in popular cosmetics, exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair-straightener products can increase the risk of certain types of cancer. If you currently use or previously used a chemical hair straightener or hair relaxer like Ultra Precise, Dark & Lovely, Optimum, or Just for Me, and you have been diagnosed with uterine cancer, breast cancer, or another devastating health problem, you have legal rights. Contact Consumer Safety Watch as soon as possible to find out whether you may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.