L’Oreal Hair Straighteners Caused Woman’s Uterine Cancer, Lawsuit Alleges
L’Oreal SA has been named as a defendant in a new lawsuit filed on behalf of a Missouri woman who claims she developed uterine cancer which was caused by her use of the company’s hair-straightening products.
Plaintiff Jennifer Mitchell said she was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2018, after using L’Oreal’s hair straighteners and hair relaxers for nearly 20 years, beginning when she was in the third grade.
Mitchell, who is black, accuses L’Oreal and several other cosmetic companies of deliberately marketing their hair-straightening products to African American women and failed to warn of the potential health risks, despite knowing since at least 2015 that they contained potentially dangerous chemicals.
The companies “profited, significantly” from “unethical and illegal conduct that caused plaintiff to purchase and habitually use a dangerous and defective product,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed on October 21, 2022, in federal court in Chicago. Mitchell is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.
Hair Straightening Chemicals Linked to Uterine Cancer Risk, Study Finds
Women who regularly use hair straightening chemicals, or relaxers, may be at a significantly increased risk of developing uterine cancer, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute [1.]
The research, which was published on October 17, 2022, adds to previous studies which have found an increased risk of hormone-related cancer in women who have used the chemicals in their hair.
“We estimated that 1.64% of women who never used hair straighteners would go on to develop uterine cancer by the age of 70; but for frequent users, that risk goes up to 4.05%,” said Alexandra White, lead author of the study.
The findings were derived from the Sister Study, a large research project led by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The researchers looked at the medical records and lifestyle surveys from more than 33,000 women between the ages of 35 and 74, all of whom are sisters to women with breast cancer but did not have the disease themselves.
Over the 11 year study period, at least 378 cases of uterine cancer were identified among the cohort. Participants who had reported using chemical hair straighteners in the previous year were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer compared to those who never used them. Women who had used the products more than 4 times in the past year were at an even greater risk.
Study Finds Link Between Hair Dye, Straighteners, and Breast Cancer
Another study published in the International Journal of Cancer [2.] in Dec. 2019 found that women who used permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners had a higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who didn’t use the products.
For the study, researchers examined data from 46,709 women in the Sister Study, and found that women who regularly used permanent hair dye during the year before they enrolled in the study had a 9% higher risk of getting breast cancer. Women who used semi-permanent or temporary hair dye had little or no increased risk, the study’s authors found.
Cancer Risk Greater Among Black Women
Among African-American women, using permanent dyes was linked to a 45% increased overall risk of breast cancer, compared with a 7% increased risk among white women. The researchers speculated that this may be because hair products marketed to black women contain different chemicals than those marketed to white women.
“Researchers have been studying the possible link between hair dye and cancer for a long time, but results have been inconsistent,” said corresponding author Alexandra White, PhD, in a statement. “In our study, we see a higher breast cancer risk associated with hair dye use, and the effect is stronger in African-American women, particularly those who are frequent users.”
Do Chemical Hair Products Cause Cancer?
Both studies found an association between permanent hair dye use and an increased cancer risk, but neither concluded for certain that using permanent hair dye or straightener causes cancer. The authors also caution that the results need to be viewed in the context of other studies, which have had mixed results: some have shown a potential link between chemical hair products and cancer, but others have not.
Co-author Dale Sandler, PhD, said in a statement, “We are exposed to many things that could potentially contribute to breast cancer, and it is unlikely that any single factor explains a woman’s risk. While it is too early to make a firm recommendation, avoiding these chemicals might be one more thing women can do to reduce their risk of breast cancer.”
Get a Free Hair Straightener 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 Straightener 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 Straightener Cancer Class Action Lawsuit and our lawyers can help.