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Chemical Hair Straighteners

Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuits

For generations, black and Latina women have used a variety of chemical hair products to relax or straighten their hair. The multi-billion-dollar cosmetic industry pressures black and Latina women to conform to traditional beauty standards by showing them in its advertising with beautiful, long, straight hair. However, recent studies show a causal link between hair relaxers and certain cancers. 

Many women started using the products at a very young age and continue to receive treatment every four to eight weeks or risk the “natural look” creeping in. Some have used these products for decades. Treatment consists of applying a creamy mix to the hair and scalp and allowing it to sit long enough to produce a “tingle” but not too long to risk burning your scalp. 

chemical hair straightener products

Are Your Hair Products Dangerous? 

A recently published scientific study indicates that “tingle” is generated by a mix of chemicals that double the user’s risk of contracting reproductive organ cancer. Shocking, to say the least, the reality is that millions of black and Latina women have unknowingly exposed themselves to life-threatening cancer just because they wanted to look good.  

There has never been a cancer warning on any of these products despite several older scientific publications suggesting a relationship between hair products and breast and reproductive organ cancers. 

Hair Relaxers Linked to Uterine Cancer

The newest study conducted by the National Institute of Health looked at data from over 33,000 women already enrolled in the NIH’s Sister Study, which has been ongoing for decades. Participants answered questions about their use of various hair care products, including dyes, straighteners, relaxers, pressing products, permanents, and body waves. Anyone with a history of uterine cancer was excluded. 

Applying a robust statistical model, it was found that those who reported the use of straighteners or relaxers more than four times in the preceding twelve months had more than double the risk of developing uterine cancer. Dyes, permanents, and waves were not found to increase the risk of cancer. 

Despite these findings, the authors did not attempt to identify which chemicals in the products were causing cancer. They did, however, mention a laundry list of chemicals routinely found in straighteners and relaxers, including several endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC’s). For black women, in particular, the prevalence and frequency of use, harsher chemical formulations, including a higher concentration of EDCs and younger age at initiating use, were cited as especially concerning. 

The authors noted that scalp exposure is highly problematic as higher concentrations of harmful chemicals are absorbed through the scalp than other areas of the body, including the forearm, palm, or abdomen.

Who is Eligible to File a Hair Straightener Claim?

Are you eligible to file a chemical hair straightener claim? At this point, many people who have used chemical hair straighteners remain eligible to file lawsuits (or join existing lawsuits) against the companies that sold them dangerous cancer-causing products. While companies have predominantly marketed these products to Black and Latina women, all individuals of all ages who have used dangerous hair relaxing products may be eligible to file a claim.

If you, or a member of your family, has used a chemical hair straightener sold by any of the following companies in the past several years, we strongly encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Keep in mind, however, that these are just examples. Individuals who used products sold by other companies may have claims as well:

  • Carson Soft Sheen
  • Creme of Nature
  • Dark & Lovely
  • Just for Me
  • L’Oréal
  • Motions
  • Namaste
  • Olive Oil Girls
  • Optimum Care
  • ORS Olive Oil
  • Revlon
  • Soft & Beautiful
  • Soft Sheen
  • Strength of Nature Global, LLC
  • TCB Naturals

To file a claim, it isn’t enough to have simply used a chemical hair straightening product sold by one of these companies. Your use of the product must have caused you harm. As we discuss in greater detail below, for many women, this harm has tragically come in the form of uterine or ovarian cancer. These are life-altering (and sometimes life-threatening) diseases that can lead to substantial financial and non-financial losses—and these are losses that women and their families can (and should) recover.

If you believe you may have a chemical hair straightener claim, your next step is to speak with a lawyer about your legal rights. Multi-district lawsuits are already pending against companies including L’Oréal, Namaste and Revlon, and you may be able to join one of these existing lawsuits. Our lawyers can determine whether it makes sense for you to join an existing lawsuit or file a separate claim of your own.

To help us evaluate your legal rights, it will be helpful for you to have as much information available as possible during your free initial consultation. With this in mind, if possible, you should try to collect records such as:

  • Receipts for your purchase of hair straightening products
  • Receipts from salons or hair studios where you received chemical hair straightening treatments
  • Credit card or bank account statements showing your purchase of hair relaxers or hair straightening treatments
  • Photos of hair straightening product bottles (or the bottles themselves)
  • Medical records from your diagnosis and treatment for ovarian cancer, uterine cancer or any other conditions that you believe may be linked to your use of a chemical hair straightener

If you don’t have everything, that’s okay. Right now, the most important thing is that you speak with a lawyer promptly. After your free initial consultation, our lawyers can take the additional steps necessary to gather evidence proving that you are entitled to a financial recovery.

Common Risks Linked to Chemical Hair Straighteners

Like all health and beauty products (and all products in general), chemical hair straighteners are supposed to be safe for their intended use. Companies that sell products to consumers have a legal duty to ensure that their products are safe, and they have a duty to warn of any known hazards.

Unfortunately, as we all know, companies don’t always do the right thing. Too often, companies put their profits before their customers’ safety, and in some cases they even ignore clear evidence of serious medical risks.

Based on the evidence compiled to date, it appears that companies either knew or should have known of the risks associated with many types of chemical hair straightening products. This includes products containing:

  • Bisphenol A
  • Cyclosiloxanes
  • Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  • Formaldehyde
  • Parabens
  • Other chemicals and metals

When present in hair relaxers, these have been shown to cause medical conditions including (but not limited to) the following.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a serious medical condition that affects women’s lives in a variety of different ways. While certain genetic factors can increase women’s risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime, it can also be caused by toxic substances such as those contained in chemical hair straightened products. Early signs of breast cancer include a lump in the breast or underarm, swelling of the breast, irritation of the breast skin, redness or flakiness, and pain in the breast area.

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is another serious form of cancer that can have genetic indicators but that can also result from exposure to toxic substances. As a result, it is also a risk linked to chemical hair straighteners. Early signs of ovarian cancer include bloating, constipation, lower abdominal pain, changes in bladder function, and difficulty eating.

Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer is another risk linked to chemical hair straighteners. There are two main types of uterine cancers: endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma. As the National Cancer Institute explains, “Endometrial cancer can often be cured. Uterine sarcoma is often more aggressive and harder to treat.” Early signs of uterine cancer include pelvic pain, abnormal menstruation, vaginal bleeding and unexplained weight loss.

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are growths that develop on the uterus but are non-cancerous. They are also called leiomyomas or myomas. The symptoms of uterine fibroids can be similar to those of uterine cancer, and women with uterine fibroids will often experience abdominal swelling as well. Depending on the severity of a patient’s condition, it may be possible to remove uterine fibroids with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) or a surgical procedure known as a myomectomy. However, in some cases, a hysterectomy will be necessary.

Other Serious Illnesses and Injuries

Along with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and uterine fibroids, the chemicals and metals in hair straightening products have the potential to cause a variety of other serious illnesses and injuries as well. Due to the way in which these products work and are used, the chemicals and metals in them can penetrate users’ scalps and enter the bloodstream. This presents a variety of different risks, many of which have the potential for life-altering or life-threatening effects. As a result, if you have any concerns about your health after using a hair straightening product, you should see a doctor promptly—and if your doctor says that your condition may be related to your use of a hair relaxer, you should discuss your legal rights with an attorney.

FAQs: What You Need to Know About Filing a Chemical Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

How Do I Know if I Have a Chemical Hair Relaxer Lawsuit?

If you have developed breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, or any other serious illness or injury after using a chemical hair relaxer, you should speak with an attorney promptly. Deadlines and other requirements apply, so determining if you have grounds to file a lawsuit will require a thorough assessment of your individual circumstances. With that said, most women who have recently been diagnosed with a condition linked to their use of a chemical hair straightening product have grounds to seek a financial recovery.

How Do I File a Claim for Cancer Caused By a Chemical Hair Straightening Product?

Filing a claim for cancer caused by a chemical hair straightening product starts with hiring an experienced attorney to represent you. Once your attorney determines that you have a claim, your attorney will determine the best way to pursue it (i.e., by filing a new lawsuit or joining pending litigation), and your attorney will fight to recover the financial compensation you deserve.

What Financial Compensation Can I Recover Through a Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit?

Women who file chemical hair straightener lawsuits can seek just compensation for all of the financial and non-financial costs of their diagnoses. Not only can cancer treatment be incredibly expensive, but it can have various long-term non-financial consequences as well. We help our clients seek just compensation for losses including medical expenses and other out-of-pocket costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Is It Too Late to File a Chemical Hair Relaxer Lawsuit?

While the deadline (or statute of limitations) for your chemical hair relaxer lawsuit depends on your individual circumstances, for most women it is not too late to file. The law gives victims several years to assert their legal rights after receiving a diagnosis. The litigation against chemical hair relaxer manufacturers is expected to go on for several years, and women who believe they may have claims can—and should—come forward at any time.

How Many Women Have Filed Chemical Hair Relaxer Lawsuits?

Thousands of women across the United States have filed hair relaxer lawsuits against Dark & Lovely, Just for Me, L’Oréal, Namaste, Optimum Care, Revlon, and other companies. If you have questions about your legal rights after being diagnosed with cancer (or another medical condition) linked to your use of a chemical hair relaxer, you are not alone. It costs nothing to find out if you have a claim; and, if you do, our attorneys will handle your claim at no out-of-pocket cost to you. 

Let An Experienced Chemical Hair Straightener Attorney Help You

At Searcy Denney, we are committed to fully investigating and prosecuting cases for women with reproductive organ cancers following exposure to toxic chemicals in their hair care products. At Searcy Denney, we handle mass tort cases nationwide.

Read more here. If you have questions or want to learn more, feel free to call us for a free consultation at 866-475-3708.

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"The attorneys and staff at Searcy Denney are some of the most compassionate and caring individuals I have met in the legal field. They work tirelessly on behalf of their clients to ensure the best possible outcome. I would highly recommend them for anyone who is seeking excellent legal representation."
Posted By: Lauren Schumacher