A major new NIH study has found that long-term use of chemical hair straighteners and/or relaxers can significantly increase the risk of endometrial cancer (and other female hormonal cancers). This new evidence connecting hair straighteners and endometrial cancer has led to product liability lawsuits against cosmetic companies.
Our attorneys are looking for women who qualify to file a hair straightener lawsuit for endometrial cancer based on the following eligibility criteria:
- Hair straightening or straightening chemicals used regularly for more than 7 years.
- Diagnosed with endometrial cancer 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 straightener (also known as “hair perm”) is a product used primarily by African-American women to straighten their curly hair and make it more manageable. The relaxing product is applied at home or in a salon and uses chemicals to destroy the protein structure of the hair and make it flat.
Hair relaxers and straighteners are very unhealthy because they are made up of high levels of synthetic chemicals that are hormonally active, such as phthalates. Phthalates are unique chemicals known to cause disruptions in the hormonal system.
Phthalates and EDC in the hair straightener
Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The endocrine system is the body’s system for creating and distributing estrogen and other hormones throughout the body. In women, it is made up of the ovaries, the thyroid, and the pituitary and adrenal glands. EDCs interfere with the normal activity of the organs of the endocrine system.
Basically, all hair straightening products contain a chemical called Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (“DEHP”). DEHP is a phthalate EDC. It helps the product adhere to the scalp and absorb into the hair. When absorbed by the body, DEHP breaks down into various metabolites that cause significant disruption of the hormonal system.
Endometrial cancer is cancer that starts in the inner wall of the uterus (endometrium). Endometrial cancer is the most common form of uterine cancer. The other less common form of uterine cancer is uterine sarcoma. There are 5 different histologic types of endometrial cancer.
About 60,000 cases of endometrial cancer are diagnosed in the US each year. The 5-year survival rate for endometrial cancer is very good, greater than 80%. Treatment for endometrial cancer usually involves surgical removal of the uterus (a hysterectomy).
Endometrial cancer occurs in black women in the US at a much higher rate than in any other racial group. Black women are three times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than white or Hispanic women.
Chemical hair straightener causes endometrial cancer
For the past decade, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) investigation called the “Sister Study” has been investigating a potential link between chronic exposure to chemicals in hair straightening products and endometrial cancer. The Sister Study looked at the health outcomes of a group of more than 33,000 participants. In October 2022, the results of the Sister Study were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The Sister Study concluded that long-term use of chemical hair straightening products increased the risk of endometrial cancer by 100%. For women who used hair straighteners more often (more than 4 times a year), the risk of endometrial cancer increased by 150%.
The Sister Study results were highly significant and may help explain the disparity in endometrial cancer rates between African-American women and other racial groups. Most black women use hair straighteners, and the Sister Study suggests this may explain why they have a much higher rate of endometrial cancer than others.
Lawsuits for hair relaxers
The conclusions reached by the Sister Study have prompted hair relaxer lawsuits against cosmetic companies that manufacture these products. A woman named Jenny Mitchell became the first to file a hair straightener lawsuit in federal court in Chicago in October 2022. A dozen more hair straightener cancer lawsuits were filed the following month. Thousands more are expected to file and we could potentially see a hair straightener class action lawsuit.
L’Oreal, Revlon and other cosmetic companies have been named defendants in these cases. Dark & Lovely®, the most popular hair relaxer on the market, is made by L’Oreal. Revlon makes several other brands. The lawsuits allege that these companies knew, or should have known, about the risks of the chemicals in their products.
Potential Value of Settlement of Endometrial Cancer Cases with Hair Straighteners
At this stage, it is too early to estimate the potential value of settlement payments for hair straightener lawsuits involving endometrial cancer. We don’t even know yet whether the evidence of causation will be admissible in court. The estimated liquidation values below are therefore based on a number of very important assumptions.
If the evidence of causation is valid and admissible, our attorneys believe that hair straightener endometrial cancer cases will have a payout range of $300,000 to $1,750,000. There could be certain individual cases with very compelling facts that are worth much more.
Contact Us to File a Hair Straightener Endometrial Cancer Lawsuit
Our firm is currently accepting cases alleging that chemicals in hair perms and hair straightening products caused endometrial cancer. If you used a chemical hair straightener and were later diagnosed with endometrial cancer, contact our office today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.