New research has shown that women who use chemical hair straighteners and/or relaxers have an increased risk of uterine cancer. This new evidence linking hair perms and uterine cancer has led to a wave of uterine cancer lawsuits against cosmetics companies like L’Oreal and Revlon.
Our attorneys are now actively seeking women who qualify to file a hair straightener lawsuit based on the following criteria:
- Used chemical hair straightening or straightening products at least 3 times a year for a period of 7-10 years.
- You were diagnosed with uterine cancer (cancer of the uterus) before the age of 70.
If you think you have a case of hair straightener cancer, call us for a free consultation today at 800-553-8082.
Chemical hair relaxers and straighteners
Hair straightener or hair relaxer is a lotion or cream that makes hair straight and flat. These products use chemicals that break down the hair strand, altering the texture and eliminating the natural curl.
The process of applying a chemical hair relaxer (often called a “hair perm”) occurs at home or in a salon. It consists of applying the straightening product to the scalp at the base of the hair. The product is then “cooked” for a period of time, during which the chemical structure of the hair is altered. Usually, the process needs to be repeated every month as the hair grows.
Hair straighteners and chemical hair straighteners are very unhealthy. These products have many synthetic chemicals that are hormonally active and carcinogenic, such as phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals known to cause endocrine disruption. Instead of being listed as ingredients, these chemicals are often obscured behind labels like “fragrance” or “perfume.”
Phthalates and EDC in the hair straightener
Phthalates belong to a family of man-made chemicals that are especially harmful to human biology because they are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The endocrine system controls the circulation and distribution of vital hormones, such as estrogen, throughout the body. In women, it is made up of the ovaries, pituitary gland, thyroid, and adrenal gland. EDCs interfere with the normal activity of the organs of the endocrine system.
Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (“DEHP”) is a phthalate EDC chemical that is used in all hair straightening products, even those labeled “non-chemical.” The compound is used to make the cream or lotion adhere to the scalp and absorb into the hair. DEHP is an EDC that is known to cause adverse endocrine disruption. When absorbed by the body, DEHP breaks down into various metabolites that are very harmful.
Uterine cancer (cancer in which a tumor forms in the endometrial tissue of the wall of the uterus) is a common type of cancer with about 65,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the US. 4 out of 100 cases of cancer are uterine cancer, and 12,500 women die from uterine cancer each year (2% of cancer-related deaths).
African-American women are disproportionately affected by uterine cancer and are several times more likely to develop uterine fibroids compared to other racial groups. The survival rate for uterine cancer is comparatively good at 81%, but here too black women in the US statistically have worse outcomes with the lowest survival rate of any group.
Chemical hair straightener causes uterine cancer
For the past 10 years, a study by researchers at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) called the “Sister Study” has focused on a possible connection between exposure to chemicals in straightening products hair and uterine cancer. The results of this important NIH sister study, which included more than 33,000 women, were published in October 2022 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute And they were very significant.
The Sister Study found that women who used hair straightening products were almost twice as likely to develop uterine cancer as those who did not (after adjusting for other risk factors). Even more significantly, those women who reported more frequent use of relaxers or straighteners (more than 4 times a year) were about 2½ times more likely to develop uterine cancer.
The results of the Sister Study were a breakthrough and went a long way toward resolving the disparity in uterine cancer rates between black women in the US and other racial groups. About 80% of black women in the US use a hair straightener, most on a regular basis. The Sister Study suggests that this use of a chemical hair relaxer may explain why black women get uterine cancer more often than others.
Lawsuits for hair relaxers
The groundbreaking discoveries of the Sister Study have spawned the beginning of what is likely to be a major wave of hair straightener lawsuits against the cosmetic companies that make these products. The first hair straightener lawsuit was filed in federal court in Chicago in October 2022. It was quickly followed by a dozen more hair straightener lawsuits in the coming weeks.
Nearly all of these early hair straightener lawsuits have been uterine cancer cases. The plaintiffs in these cases claim they developed uterine cancer from chronic use of chemical hair straighteners. Major cosmetics companies like L’Oreal and Revlon have been named defendants in these cases.
L’Oreal makes Dark & Lovely®, which is the most popular hair straightening product on the market. Revlon manufactures a leading brand of professional hair straighteners used in salons. A host of other small companies that make hair straightening products have also been named as defendants.
Potential Value of Liquidating Uterine Cancer Cases with Hair Straighteners
It is too early to speculate on the possible settlement value of hair straightener lawsuits related to uterine cancer. The scientific evidence in these cases is still developing and it is not known whether it will be admissible in court. The liquidation value estimate below is based on a number of very important assumptions.
Based on the assumption that the evidence of causation is valid, our attorneys estimate that hair straightener lawsuits involving uterine cancer will have a settlement payment value of $300,000 to $1,750,000. Certain cases that present compelling circumstances, such as a very young plaintiff, could have a much higher value.
Our firm is currently investigating product liability cases alleging that chemicals in hair perm and straightening products caused uterine cancer. If you used chemical hair straightener and were later diagnosed with uterine cancer, contact our office today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.