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Hairdresser relaxing the hair on an african woman head and also using comb to stretch and apply the relaxer cream through the hair

A new study has found a link between hair-straightening chemicals and uterine cancer, which is concerning news for the millions of women who regularly use straightening products. Women have started to file lawsuits against beauty companies like L’Oréal, alleging that they knew or should have known that their products increased the risk of cancer. Women diagnosed with uterine cancer after using hair-straightening products should talk to an attorney experienced in handling dangerous and defective products about their legal options. 

What Are Hair Straighteners?

Chemical hair straighteners and relaxers are usually sold as lotions or creams, and they help straighten textured hair. These straighteners are applied directly to the hair and work by loosening curls and making the hair easier to manage. Chemical hair straighteners can keep hair straight for months, and the global hair relaxer market is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. 

To effectively straighten hair, these products must contain strong chemicals. The warning labels on hair straighteners warn against direct exposure and getting it in your eyes, ears, or mouth. Chemical hair straightening products tend to have short-term side effects and can cause scalp irritation and burns.

However, a new study shows that the effects of hair straightening products could be even more serious. The study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that uterine cancer rates are higher in women who use hair straightening products. Researchers found that 1.46% of women will develop uterine cancer before they turn 70, but that rate skyrockets to 4.05% for women who use chemical hair straightening products.

The study’s authors previously found that hair straighteners can increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. They hypothesize that the chemicals in straightening products can be absorbed through the scalp and cause hormone-related cancers. If a manufacturer releases a dangerous or defective product, they can be held liable when someone is injured because of their negligence.

Hair Straightener Uterine Cancer Lawsuits

Women who developed uterine cancer after using hair straightening products are suing the manufacturers because they say the manufacturers should have told consumers about the potential cancer risk. There are three types of product defects in product liability law: design defects, manufacturing defects, and “failure to warn” defects. Design defects happen when a product is inherently flawed from the start. Manufacturing defects occur when a product is designed correctly, but something goes wrong during a product’s production process. Lastly, “failure to warn” product liability cases happen when a manufacturer doesn’t warn about potential risks that come with use.

Hair straightening products are marketed as safe to use, and some manufacturers include verbiage about relaxers being gentle and containing natural plant oils on product labels. Women who use these products have no reason to believe the chemicals will heighten their risk of developing cancer. Still, the new research raises concerns about whether they were misled about the safety of these products. Even if a company didn’t intentionally conceal information, it might still be on the hook for failing to warn consumers. If a manufacturer should have known about a health risk and didn’t do their due diligence, they may also be found liable.

What Is Uterine Cancer?

Uterine cancer is a rare disease that primarily affects women over 50 years old who have already experienced menopause. There are two common forms of the condition: endometrial cancer, which is curable, and uterine sarcoma, which is more challenging to treat. Uterine sarcoma has a 5-year survival rate of 50-55%, even when caught early. The condition’s prevalence is rising, and more women are being diagnosed with uterine cancer than in previous years.

Obesity, weight gain, chemotherapy drugs, family history, and genetic factors can all contribute to the development of uterine cancer. Vaginal bleeding and cramping are symptoms of the disease, but these signs may be confused with other illnesses. Uterine cancer treatment usually includes surgery, medication, and radiation therapy. Some uterine cancer survivors may need hysterectomies to treat the condition, which leaves women unable to have children. 

Learning that you have uterine cancer can be devastating. Patients must undergo painful procedures to treat the disease and deal with the reality that it might come back, even after successful treatment. Additionally, losing the ability to have children biologically can be distressing for women of all ages. If manufacturers warned that hair straighteners might increase the risk of uterine cancer, the women who use them could make informed decisions.

Were you diagnosed with uterine cancer after using chemical hair straighteners? It could help if you talked to an attorney as soon as possible to determine your legal options and the best path forward. You might be eligible for compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, decreased quality of life, and pain and suffering due to your diagnosis. The defective product lawyers at Childers, Schlueter & Smith know how to handle these cases and can answer any questions you may have. Contact us online or call (800) 641-0098.

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