For the most current update on the status of the chemical hair straightener cancer lawsuits, click here.
You may have heard that several hair relaxer cancer lawsuits have been filed claiming that chemical hair relaxers cause cancer. In this post, we explain how chemical hair straighteners may cause reproductive cancers, including uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer. We also explain the status of the litigation and hair straightener lawsuits nationwide.
The racially-charged history of Hair Relaxers
The process of permanent hair relaxing has racially problematic roots. Dating back to the 1700s in Louisiana, Black women were banned from wearing their hair uncovered in public. Later, in the 19th and 20th centuries, Black and Latina women faced intense marketing and advertising pressure to conform to European standards of beauty. At the time of this writing, most American States do not prohibit discrimination on the basis of hair-style, though there are current efforts underway to pass a federal law, the CROWN Act, to ban such discrimination nationally at the federal level. (Tennessee, where we are headquartered, has adopted the CROWN Act.) In addition, chemical hair straightening manufacturers have targeted young children with their advertisements and products.
How Do Hair Relaxers Cause Cancer?
Chemical hair relaxers contain chemicals that disrupt the human body. These are called endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs. These EDCs “trick” the body into thinking they are human hormones, like estrogen, and can bind to estrogen-receptive cells in the human body. Because there are many such estrogen-receptive cells in female reproductive organs, the EDCs in chemical hair relaxers bind to the estrogen-receptive cells (ERs) in the uterus and ovaries. The EDCs “can dysregulate hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis potentially either inducing reproductive disorders or cancer,” according to one study Another study specifically linking hair straighteners to uterine cancer concludes: “we observed novel findings of a higher incident uterine cancer rate for women who self-reported either ever or frequent hair straightener use in the 12 months prior to the baseline, relative to those who did not.”
How Long Does it Take Cancer to Develop from Hair Straighteners?
The increased risk of uterine and other reproductive cancers is associated with the usage of chemical hair straighteners at least four times a year. Additionally, the latency period for EDC-related cancers should be roughly 2-5 years after the first use of the product. Several factors affect the development of cancer, so it is important to rule out other causes, such as genetics, lifestyle, or other environmental causes.
What is the status of the chemical hair straightener cancer lawsuits?
At the time of this writing, the litigation is currently before the Joint Panel on Multi-district Litigation, or JPML. It is expected that the litigation will be centralized in the Northern District of Illinois, Chicago area. A hearing is currently scheduled for January 2023, so check back for more updates.
Which specific products are affected?
It is still early in this litigation, but “some of the products that have surfaced in these legal actions include Dark & Lovely, Olive Oil Relaxer, Motions, and Organic Root Stimulator.”
How do I know if I can bring a hair relaxer cancer lawsuit?
It’s important to know the current criteria for chemical hair straightener cancer lawsuits.
For now, the criteria are:
- Use of a chemical hair straightener at least 4 times a year;
- For the last 2 to 5 years; and
- Diagnosis of uterine, endometrial, or ovarian cancer.
What are the allegations in the lawsuits?
The lawsuits allege that the manufacturers of hair relaxers knew or should have known that their products contained chemicals that could cause cancer. They also allege that the manufacturers failed to adequately warn consumers about the risks of using hair relaxers.
What are the chemicals in hair relaxers that are linked to cancer?
The chemicals in hair relaxers that are linked to cancer include methylene chloride, hydroquinone, and formaldehyde. These chemicals are known to be endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which means that they can interfere with the body’s hormones. Hormones play a role in many different bodily functions, including the development of cancer.
What are the symptoms of uterine cancer?
The symptoms of uterine cancer can include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, and bloating. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away.
What are the chances of winning a hair relaxer lawsuit?
The chances of winning a hair relaxer lawsuit depend on a number of factors, including the strength of the evidence and the jurisdiction in which the lawsuit is filed. However, the recent studies linking hair relaxers to cancer have made it more likely that these lawsuits will be successful.
What should you do if you have been diagnosed with uterine cancer after using hair relaxers?
If you have been diagnosed with uterine cancer after using hair relaxers, you should talk to a lawyer about your legal options. You may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the hair relaxer that you used.
What can you do to protect yourself from the risks of hair relaxers?
If you are considering using hair relaxers, you should weigh the risks and benefits carefully. There are other ways to straighten your hair that do not involve the use of harsh chemicals. You should also talk to your doctor about the risks of using hair relaxers.
If you have any questions about chemical hair relaxer lawsuits, please contact a lawyer.
A hair relaxer lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options. They can also help you file a lawsuit if you have been injured by a hair relaxer product.
Hair relaxer lawyers in Nashville
If you or a loved one think you may have a case for a chemical hair straightener lawsuit, contact our products liability attorneys today.