Hach & Rose, LLP is investigating claims that hair-relaxing products put consumers at a higher risk of uterine cancer. We represent women in chemical hair straightener lawsuits nationwide who have developed uterine cancer, most specifically, endometrial cancer, and claims of uterine fibroids resulting in a hysterectomy.
Chemical hair straighteners contain materials proven to cause a higher cancer risk among women. In fact, these chemicals are known to disrupt the body’s endocrine system, which regulates our production of hormones. Several cancers thrive off the production of hormones such as estrogen. Such cancers include uterine cancer and ovarian cancer.
Chemical Hair Straightening Lawsuit Updates
November 1, 2023 – Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Plaintiffs Seek Common Benefit Fund
The hair relaxer cancer litigation’s Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee has asked for 11% of the total gross settlement or judgment in hair relaxer lawsuits to be reserved for a plaintiff benefit fund. 8% of the funds would go towards work that benefits the collective parties involved with the remaining 3% going towards common benefit expenses.
This allocation of funds is not a part of the compensation intended for plaintiffs and instead involves the expense coverage for the many lawyers involved in the case.
October 19, 2023 – FDA Proposition for Banning Formaldehyde From Hair Relaxer Ingredients
Hair relaxer lawsuits have put pressure on the FDA to reevaluate its position on the many harmful chemicals that are used to make hair relaxer products. With the conclusions reached by many studies as justification, the FDA has proposed banning formaldehyde from use in chemical hair relaxers.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that is commonly associated with embalming and preserving dead specimens but also has been found in hair relaxer products. There is a clear consensus that it is a carcinogen and dangerous to human health in even small amounts.
October 16, 2023 Update – 3,752 New Cases Added to Hair Relaxer MDL
As estimated, the amount of hair relaxer cancer lawsuits has increased significantly over the past month and brought the total number of pending hair relaxer lawsuits to 5,996. The addition
of about 4,000 new plaintiffs this month heralds even more growth in the hair relaxer litigation and even more pressure on hair relaxer manufacturers.
It is currently estimated that if the growth in the number of hair relaxer cancer lawsuits increases at a similar rate then there could be close to 10,000 lawsuits filed by the end of the year.
February 6, 2023 – Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation Establishes Hair Relaxer Multidistrict Litigation
The many hair relaxer lawsuits that have been filed in several districts across the country have now been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). This measure was taken after the panel found that the many lawsuits shared common questions of fact so that the process for this widespread litigation would be more streamlined for the benefit of all.
Multidistrict litigation consolidates and brings together many similar civil lawsuits from different federal district courts under one single district court for pretrial proceedings. This alleviates the burden on the court system and makes the process of handling discovery much more convenient for both plaintiffs and defendants.
The hair relaxer multidistrict litigation has been consolidated in the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago under Judge Mary Rowland.
December 28, 2022 – Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit
There are over 100 hair relaxer lawsuits filed in various Federal Courts nationwide. On November 15, 2022, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion to transfer venue to establish a federal hair straightener MDL based on common questions of fact and law that have been raised in the approximately 100 hair straightener lawsuits as of date. The Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) filed the motion.
In an MDL, all nationwide lawsuits filed in federal courts would be consolidated in one jurisdiction before a single judge. The plaintiffs have requested that the Northern District of Illinois be chosen as the proper venue for the hair relaxer uterine cancer lawsuit.
The JPML issues a notice of hearing on December 16, stating it will entertain oral arguments on the morning of January 26, 2023, to determine whether all hair straightening lawsuits should be consolidated. There are many manufacturers involved, the biggest being L’oreal. However, the manufacturers oppose creating a hair straightening MDL due to the number of defendants and varying types of injuries.
Uterine Cancer From Hair Straighteners
A recent study by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute confirmed a link between chemical hair straightening products (hair relaxers) and uterine cancer.
The above-referenced study entitled Use of Straighteners and Other Hair Products and Incident Uterine Cancer followed 33,947 participants over the course of 11 years. The results showed that women who had used chemical hair straightening products frequently (frequent users deveined more than four times per year) were greater than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer as women who did not use these products.
The results of the National Cancer Institute study are particularly concerning for Black women, who commonly use hair-relaxing products and are more likely than other groups of women to develop and die from cancer, especially of the uterine form. In fact, black women are up to four times more likely to develop uterine cancer than their white counterparts.
What is Uterine Cancer?
Uterine cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system. The most common form is endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer forms in the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. The other type of uterine cancer is uterine sarcoma. A uterine cancer diagnosis can be devastating news and often results in infertility. However, this is a treatable form of cancer when diagnosed early.
Hair Relaxer Use and Ovarian Cancer
Long-term use of chemical hair relaxers has also been tied to an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. This type of cancer originates in the ovaries or related areas such as the peritoneum and fallopian tubes.
Ovarian cancer is considered relatively rare with only 20,000 cases diagnosed in the United States annually. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer’s rarity is paired with an increased risk of lethality since its 5-year survival rate is only 47%. The primary reason for this is that ovarian cancer often does not display many symptoms that are recognized until it develops to more dangerous stages and spreads.
A study published in NCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute found through analysis of Sister Study data that women who regularly used hair relaxer products were significantly more likely to develop cancers such as ovarian cancer related to hormonal disruption believed to be caused by the chemical products in question.
Risk Factors for Uterine Cancer
- Over the age of 50
- Family member with uterine, ovarian, or colon cancer
- Estrogen replacement during menopause
- Environmental factors (this includes hair products which help explain the health disparities and increased uterine cancer rates for black women)
Other Health Conditions Connected to Hair Relaxer Use
Hair relaxer use has also been tied to the risk of developing other health conditions. Uterine fibroids have been found to occur at higher rates among demographics that use hair relaxers. Uterine fibroids are growths in the uterus that are not cancer but can grow in ways that can cause complications.
Hair relaxer use by children has been connected with the early onset of puberty. The hormonal problems caused by endocrine disrupting chemicals found in hair relaxers can cause puberty to occur early which can increase the risk of metabolic syndromes such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Hair Relaxer Cancer Symptoms
The following are some of the major symptoms attributed to the development of both ovarian and uterine cancer. If you or a loved one notice that you have been suffering from several of the following symptoms then seek help from your physician as soon as possible. These symptoms paired with a history of hair relaxer use can be a likely indicator that you could be suffering from either ovarian or uterine cancer.
- Changes in bowel habits (constipation, high frequency)
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain or pressure
Why Black Women Have Such a High Rate of Uterine Cancer
For years, scientists and researchers were baffled as to why black women had a disproportionately high rate of uterine and endometrial cancer compared to white women. Black women are not predisposed to this type of cancer. Rather, the common use of chemical hair straighteners and the increased risk of uterine cancer explain this away.
This is the first epidemiological study to find an association between chemical hair straighteners and uterine cancer regardless of frequent use. However, frequent users are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with endometrial cancer.
If you were diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer or uterine fibroids resulting in a hysterectomy after using chemical hair straighteners and relaxers, you could be entitled to seek compensation from the manufacturer. Companies have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for consumers to use and warn consumers of any possible dangers associated with using their products. Contact the hair relaxer lawsuit attorneys with Hach & Rose, LLP to discuss your situation and your legal options.
Black Women Disproportionately Impacted by Uterine Cancer Caused by Hair Products.
A 2016 study by the Environmental Working Group studied retailers and stores that sell beauty products targeting black women. The researchers cataloged ingredients in numerous products, including hair straighteners.
Regarding chemical hair straighteners, the study found that a vast majority were considered extremely risky for “potential harm.” In fact, some “no lye” relaxers and dyes were marketed as safe alternatives due to lacking sodium hydroxide. However, the study deemed these “no lye” treatments to pose a substantial health risk as they contained formaldehyde and parabens. Both ingredients are linked to increased uterine cancer risk.
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Hair Straightening Products
Chemical hair straightening products typically contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals. While the National Institutes of Health study may be the first research paper investigating the link between hair straighteners and uterine cancer, there is a body of scientific research on endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
Our endocrine system controls the body’s production and use of specific hormones. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals disrupt the endocrine system and can completely throw hormone production out of whack. Many diseases, including uterine cancer, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer (a type of uterine cancer) are hormone-related cancers. In other words, hormones could create and exacerbate cancers and diseases.
Endocrine Disruptors and Uterine Cancer
Here is some interesting information on the science behind the link between endocrine-disrupting chemicals and uterine cancer. We can only assume that these endocrine-disrupting chemicals play a large role in why the users of hair straightening products cause women to develop uterine cancer. This is the only logical reason black women develop uterine cancer at an alarming rate.
Chemicals in Hair Straightening Products That May Be Linked to Uterine Cancer and Ovarian Cancer
Although the recent study did not collect data on specific brands, researchers identified various chemicals used as ingredients in hair relaxers that could put women at a higher risk of developing uterine, endometrial, and ovarian cancer. These chemicals are among the highest risk factors for uterine cancer. Some of those hair-straightening chemicals include:
- Sodium hydroxide
- Bisphenol A
- Heavy metals
Parabens and phthalates fall under the umbrella of hair-straightening chemicals that are endocrine disruptors. Both chemicals are associated with increased uterine cancer risk.
Hair Straightener Products With Dangerous Chemicals
Hair straightener manufacturer in parentheses
- Optimum (L’Oreal)
- Dark and Lovely (L’Oreal)
- Precise (L’Oreal)
- Bantu (L’Oreal)
- Olive Oil Girls (Namaste Laboratories, LLC)
- Organic Root Stimulator (Namaste Laboratories, LLC)
- Soft & Beautiful (Nature Global, LLC)
- Motions (Nature Global, LLC)
- Just For Me (Strength of Naure Global, LLC)
Who Qualifies for a Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit?
If you used a chemical hair straightening product (lye or no-lye) at least once a year and developed uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, or had uterine fibroids resulting in a hysterectomy, you could be eligible for a toxic hair relaxer lawsuit.
Furthermore, women who used a leave-in conditioner or oil, permanent hair dye, keratin treatment, Brazilian blowout treatment, or certain other chemical hair products could be entitled to legal action, as these products may also be linked to uterine and other cancers.
To determine if you qualify for a lawsuit, contact Hach & Rose, LLP today to speak with a knowledgeable New York product liability attorney.
Contact a Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit Attorney
Hach & Rose, LLP is investigating claims that hair-relaxing products put consumers at a higher risk of uterine cancer. If you were diagnosed with uterine cancer after using chemical hair-relaxing products, contact a hair straightener uterine cancer lawyer. A growing body of science illustrates that hair relaxers are linked to increased cancer risk. Our consultations are always 100% free, so contact us now to discuss your case.