Lawsuits have been filed by women who claim that hair relaxers contain toxic chemicals that cause cancer, fibroids, endometriosis, and more. The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting hair relaxer induced injury cases in all 50 states.
In November 2022, a group of women who used Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer filed a class action lawsuit against L’Oreal and Soft Sheen-Carson, claiming they never would have used Dark & Lovely if they knew it contained chemicals that might increase their risk of uterine cancer, fibroids, endometriosis, or breast cancer.
A growing number of lawsuits claim that hair relaxers contain toxic chemicals that can cause cancer and disrupt hormones. These products are linked to life-threatening health problems, such as breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, hysterectomy and more.
Many of these lawsuits were filed after a major study found that women who used hair relaxers were twice as likely to be diagnosed with uterine cancer by the age of 70. The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in October 2022. The researchers also published another study finding a 30% increased risk of breast cancer for women who used hair relaxers routinely.
Experts are concerned because hair relaxers contain a variety of harsh chemicals that can get into the body through scalp irritation and sores. Some of these chemicals (such as parabens or phthalates) are believed to mimic estrogen, which may explain why hair relaxers have been linked to reproductive health problems that affect women, such as uterine cancer, fibroids and endometriosis.
A list of popular hair relaxer products include:
- Ultra Precise
- Dark & Lovely
- Just for Me
- ORS Olive Oil
- African Pride
- TCB Naturals
- Africa’s Best
- Creme of Nature
- Mizani Rhelaxer
- Soft & Beautiful
- Ultra Sheen Supreme
One of the first hair relaxer lawsuits was filed by Jenny M., a Black woman from Missouri who was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had a hysterectomy when she was only 28 years old. She blames L’Oreal and other beauty companies for failing to warn women that the chemicals in hair relaxers could cause serious health problems.
Her lawsuit was filed in October 2022, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Than month, a lawsuit was filed by KeAira G., a woman from Georgia who claims that hair relaxers caused her uterine fibroids.
She claims that she was first exposed to hair relaxers in 1994, when she was just 6 years old, at hair salons or by using do-at-home kits. She continued to use hair relaxers for the next 18 years, until about 2012.
She was diagnosed with uterine fibroids in 2011, at the young age of 22, after experiencing “extremely heavy bleeding and excruciating pain during her periods,” according to the lawsuit. While undergoing surgery to remove her fibroids, she was also diagnosed with endometriosis. In 2019, doctors found that her fibroids had returned. She was also diagnosed with a cyst on her left ovary.
In her lawsuit, she blames her diagnosis of fibroids and endometriosis on her exposure to toxic chemicals in hair relaxers, including endocrine-disrupting chemicals and/or phthalate-based products.
L’Oreal and Soft Sheen-Carson were hit by a Amla Hair Relaxer class action lawsuit by women who suffered hair loss and breakage, scalp irritation, blisters, and burns. The lawsuit was filed by two women who used the Soft Sheen-Carson Optimum-Amla Legend No-Mix No-Lye Hair Relaxer, which is advertised toward African American women to straighten their hair.
The product contains a few drops of Amla oil, but plaintiffs claim that it is mostly “a mix of harsh, caustic, and potentially toxic chemicals.” Amla hair relaxer is marketed as a no-lye formula to appeal to consumers who want to avoid harsh chemicals. Unfortunately, instead it contains a mix of other ingredients that are just as harmful.
Despite the risks, a judge tossed out most of these claims in April 2018, effectively ending the lawsuit and similar cases that had been centralized in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL). The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The research finding “also communicates that uterine cancer is indeed rare. However, the doubling of risk does lead to some concern” said Chandra Jackson, a leading researcher and co-author of the study. According to NIH (National Institutes of Health), women who used chemical hair-relaxing products at least four times a year were found to be at twice the risk of developing uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine fibroids compared to those who did not.