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People are born with various sorts of hair characteristics that give them naturally different styles, such as wavy, curly, or straight hair. Sometimes, people use products to achieve a new look and alter the traits of their hair, like chemical hair straighteners. However, studies have linked hair relaxers to reproductive cancers, including uterine and ovarian cancer. Women nationwide are filing hair relaxer lawsuits due to injuries reportedly caused by these haircare products. Have you or a loved one developed uterine cancer or another serious health condition after using hair relaxer products? Reach out today to learn how a hair relaxer lawyer at The Lake Law Firm can help you.
Our law firm is currently handling lawsuits on behalf of victims of hair relaxer products. In October 2022, a Missouri resident filed the first hair relaxer lawsuit against L’Oreal. Since then, we have seen many more hair relaxer claims follow suit. Many women believed chemical hair straighteners were completely safe because manufacturers never advertised otherwise. As a result, many women who have used hair relaxers, some since childhood, have allegedly developed severe cancers. Call (888) 525-3529 or fill out the free case evaluation form on this page today to speak with a hair relaxer lawyer at our firm.
Hair relaxers are a class of cosmetic products used to chemically “relax” or straighten hair. Typically, women with curly hair or afros apply hair straightening products to flatten their locks. A majority of those who report utilizing hair straightening chemicals are Black women. In a study by the National Institutes of Health that analyzed tens of thousands of women who incorporate hair relaxers into their hair care routine, 60% were Black women.
Hair smoothening products usually have a thick, creamy consistency with a very high pH. For example, hair dye already has a high pH, generally between 9 and 10, but hair relaxers can have pH levels around 12 and 14. Users work the hair relaxer cream into the base of the hair and let it sit. The high pH concentration forces the cuticle to swell and open, which allows the cream to penetrate the cuticle and cortex layers. Once the chemical agents have reached the cortex, they break down the disulfide bonds that keep the keratin molecules together (the main proteins that form hair). Hair relaxers loosen the natural curl pattern by attacking the keratin molecules, giving it a straighter appearance.
Lawsuits note that hair relaxers contain hazardous chemicals that can impact the body’s normal functions and produce adverse health effects. Hair relaxers are known to have endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs are chemicals that interfere with the activity of the endocrine system, thus affecting the body’s hormones, nervous system, metabolism, and reproductive system. EDCs alter the body in several ways, including:
Another harmful chemical prevalent in hair relaxers is phthalates, a type of EDC. Manufacturers incorporate phthalates into cosmetics and personal care products to make plastics durable and serve as solvents or stabilizers. In hair relaxers, phthalates help the product stick to and penetrate the hair and skin and make the hair more flexible. Like other EDCs, phthalates can adversely influence the endocrine system and organ function. Phthalates can negatively impact:
Hair relaxers have a specific type of phthalate known as Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate (DEHP). DEHP is a highly toxic chemical known to cause health complications such as:
In October 2022, the National Institutes of Health discovered an association between hair straightening chemicals and a higher risk of uterine cancer. The researchers found that women who reported using hair relaxers more than four times in the previous year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer. The endocrine-disrupting chemicals within hair relaxers may cause several injuries, like:
New studies and lawsuits are beginning to shed light on the connection between hair relaxers and uterine cancer or other injuries. Sadly, many women have used hair relaxers for years without knowing about the elevated risk of developing certain forms of cancer and other health issues. A hair relaxer lawyer from The Lake Law Firm is on standby to speak with you if you have used hair relaxers and were later diagnosed with cancer.
Several manufacturers are defendants in hair relaxer lawsuits. Companies involved in claims that hair relaxers cause cancer and other illnesses include:
On October 21, 2022, Jenny Mitchell filed the first hair relaxer lawsuit, claiming her prolonged chronic exposure to phthalates and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair relaxers caused her uterine cancer. Mitchell alleges she began using hair relaxers at the age of 10, around 2000. The lawsuit states Mitchell had the hair relaxers applied professionally at a salon or by herself, always following the instructions. In September 2018, Mitchell underwent a complete hysterectomy after doctors diagnosed her with uterine cancer.
Hair relaxer lawsuits specify that none of the hair relaxers advertised any warning concerning the risk of uterine cancer. Had women known about the connection between hair relaxers and uterine cancer, they claim they would have never used them. Also, plaintiffs accuse companies of knowing that the chemicals in their products could increase consumers’ risk of cancer since 2015. However, the defendants failed to warn the public about the cancer hazards of hair relaxers. According to hair relaxer claims, the defendants allegedly sold defective and unreasonably dangerous products, hair relaxers, while concealing the risk of cancer from the public.
In chemical hair relaxer claims, plaintiffs also demand companies pay for medical monitoring, issue a full refund, and stop selling their products.
On November 15, 2022, plaintiffs filed a motion to consolidate hair relaxer cancer lawsuits. The lawsuits arise from injuries allegedly caused by prolonged exposure to phthalates and other EDCs in hair relaxers. Also, the motion noted there were nine cases filed on behalf of thirteen plaintiffs in four different districts.
In February 2023, chemical hair relaxer claims were centralized into multidistrict litigation. An MDL places lawsuits nationwide with similar claims in a single federal court in order to resolve claims efficiently and fairly. The cases were transferred to the Northern District of Illinois, with Judge Mary M. Rowland set to oversee the proceedings.
Since its creation, the hair relaxer MDL has grown significantly. As of September 2023, 2,244 hair relaxer actions were pending in MDL-3060.
We are still in the early stages of these cases, so there are no hair relaxer verdicts or settlements at this time. Currently, the court has not scheduled any bellwether trials. These test trials help parties understand whether plaintiffs should receive compensation and, if so, how much.
As we progress through hair relaxer litigation, we will update this page with the latest developments.
The average payout you may be entitled to depends on many factors. Your type of injury, the extent of your damages, and more can influence how much you collect in a hair relaxer lawsuit.
While there is no guaranteed compensation amount, we encourage you to schedule a free case evaluation with one of your attorneys. Our attorneys understand that no amount of compensation can undo the long-term health effects caused by the chemicals in hair relaxers. The Lake Law Firm believes consumers harmed by defective products have the right to seek justice against negligent manufacturers. Contact us today to speak with a hair relaxer lawyer about whether you qualify for a claim.
If hair relaxers have harmed you or a loved one, you may be able to recover compensation for any or all of the following:
Lawsuits argue that hair relaxer manufacturers knew or should have known about the dangerous chemicals within their products. While the law or the FDA does not require specific testing for cosmetic companies, the agency has advised manufacturers to use whatever testing is necessary to ensure the safety of their ingredients.
Despite decades of research that has described the dangers of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, hair relaxer manufacturers did not include warnings on their labels. Consumers may have sought alternative hair care treatments had companies been forthright regarding the risk of uterine cancer and other health complications.
The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. A hair relaxer lawyer will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) 525-3529 or submit an inquiry on this page.