What are Hair Relaxers Used For?
Hair relaxers — also commonly referred to as “hair straighteners” or “hair perms” — are used by black women and other women of color to manipulate their hair and force it to flatten out. A combination of potentially toxic chemicals in these products weakens the protein structure of hair strands, forcing the hair to lay flat.
Hair Relaxer Cancer Risks
In October 2022, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute [1.] found that ingredients used in chemical hair relaxers and hair straighteners may increase the risk of uterine cancer. The researchers determined that the rate of uterine cancer was nearly 3 times greater among women who frequently applied the products compared to those who never used them.
Another study published in the International Journal of Cancer [2.] in 2019 reached similar conclusions, finding that women who regularly used hair straighteners and permanent hair dyes were 9% more likely to develop breast cancer compared to non-users.
Over an 8 year period, the study’s authors identified at least 2,794 cases of breast cancer in women who used chemical hair straighteners. Those who frequently used hair straightener products were at a significantly higher risk for breast cancer, finding women who used them at least every 5 to 8 weeks had a 30% increased risk of being diagnosed with the disease.
The findings indicated that black women who reported using permanent hair dyes regularly were linked to a 60% increase of breast cancer diagnosis, compared to an 8% increased risk for white women.
Uterine fibroids and endometriosis have been associated with phthalate metabolites contained in hair relaxer and hair straightener products.
First Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court
Just days after the study linking hair relaxers to uterine cancer was published, the first lawsuit over the issue was entered in Chicago (Mitchell v. L’Oreal, et al. – 1:22-cv-5815). Plaintiff Jennifer Mitchell, a 32-year-old Missouri woman who used chemical hair relaxers her entire life, claims she was diagnosed with uterine cancer at the age of 28, and forced to have a hysterectomy, leaving her unable to have children. She had no family history of cancer.
Mitchell’s complaint asserts several causes of action against L’Oreal and 4 other cosmetic manufacturers. This lawsuit and others like it may pave the way for a hair relaxer class action alleging that these products cause uterine cancer.
Which Hair Relaxers Cause Cancer?
Unfortunately, most brands of hair relaxers and hair straighteners contain the toxic ingredients that have been shown to increase the risk of uterine cancer, breast cancer, and other serious side effects. Some brand names that may be affected include:
- Ultra Precise Hair Relaxer
- Dark & Lovely
- Bantu Knots
- Optimum No-Lye Relaxer
- Motions Hair Care
- Just for Me Hair Natural Hair Products
- ORS Olive Oil Hair Care
- African Pride Natural Hair Care Products
- TCB Naturals
- Luster’s Hair Products
- Africa’s Best Hair
- Creme of Nature Beauty Products
- TCB Hair Care
- Mizani Rhelaxer
- Soft & Beautiful Hair Care
- Ultra Sheen Supreme No Lye Relaxer
What are Phthalates?
Many chemical hair relaxers contain phthalates, which are chemicals that are used to add plastic-like durability and flexibility to numerous cosmetic products. Phthalates are dangerous because they are endocrine-disrupting-chemicals (EDCs), which interact and disrupt the mechanism that produces and distributes hormones in the human body.
Are Hair Straighteners Regulated by the FDA?
The U.S. government provides little control over chemicals contained in hair relaxer and hair straightening products. The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act requires an ingredient declaration on cosmetic products; however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require the listing of the individual fragrance, flavors, or ingredients. So potentially cancer-causing phthalates are not listed, so long as they are combined with a fragrance.
Get a Free Hair Relaxer Cancer Class Action Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Products Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial attorneys that focus exclusively on the representation of Hair Relaxer Cancer Class Action Lawsuits. Our lawyers are handling cancer in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one was diagnosed with breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine cancer, or uterine fibroids after using hair relaxers or hair straighteners, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case consultation about your injuries. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Hair Relaxer Cancer Class Action Lawsuit and our lawyers can help.