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An middle aged African American woman after a curly hair straightening treatment at a hair salon.

Women have used chemical hair straighteners and relaxers for decades, with some using them since they were young. Unfortunately, we now know using these products can be extremely hazardous to a person’s health and has been linked to a higher risk of uterine cancer. To make it worse, manufacturers of these products failed to warn the public of the danger.

As a result, women across the country with certain cancers are filing hair relaxer cancer lawsuits against the makers of these products. The lawsuits claim the manufacturers failed to warn them of the dangers and demand they be held liable for their negligence.

How Hair Straightening Products Are Linked to Cancer

To remove any curl or frizz, users divide their hair into sections, then apply chemicals from the scalp to the ends. Once the chemicals have done their work, they use a hot hair iron or blow dryer until they’ve got straightened hair and the style to their satisfaction. It is precisely those chemicals that are hazardous. 

In an October 2022 study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers found that people who use hair relaxer products frequently are at greater risk of uterine cancer. The researchers found that women who reported frequent use, defined as more than four times in a year, were more than twice as likely to go on to develop uterine cancer compared to those who did not use the products.

Researchers also recognized hair straightening products and uterine cancer cases were most pronounced for Black women. Because of their natural hair type, Black women tend to use these products more often and at an earlier age than women of other ethnic backgrounds. 

Who Should File a Hair Straightener Lawsuit?

While the October study linked chemical straightening products with uterine cancer, the authors previously found that hair straighteners can also increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. They hypothesized that the chemicals in straightening products could be absorbed through the scalp and cause hormone-related cancers. 

Those who should consider filing a hair relaxer lawsuit are individuals who used chemical hair straighteners or relaxers and subsequently developed severe conditions or illnesses, including uterine cancer, uterine fibroids endometriosis, and types of hormone-driven breast cancer.

Since October, several hair straightener cancer lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers. One of the first women to file a lawsuit after the release of the NIH’s uterine cancer study was Jennifer Mitchell.

Mitchell, who filed the lawsuit in Chicago through the Northern District of Illinois, reported using a variety of chemical straighteners beginning at the age of eight. While having no family history of the disease, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer at 28. She had to undergo a hysterectomy, taking away her chances of having biological children. She now believes her cancer was directly and proximately caused by her regular and prolonged exposure to the chemicals found in the hair relaxer products. 

Plaintiffs claim that several companies should have known of the increased health risks their products caused but that they made and sold them anyway. They also allege failure to warn of the dangers to consumers and that the products were misrepresented as safe through specific advertising and marketing messages.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition, including uterine cancer, breast cancer, uterine fibroids or endometriosis, after using chemical hair straighteners, it is crucial to hold those responsible for the injury accountable. The best way to do this is to consult an experienced dangerous products lawyer who can educate you about possible legal options.

Filing a chemical hair straightener lawsuit can provide financial compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, loss of work, emotional distress and medical bills. In this type of lawsuit, the plaintiff must be able to prove they suffered harm due to their use of the product. A lawyer will walk you through the process and determine the evidence necessary to show a clear connection between the diagnosis and the hair product use. Also, consider that there may be time limits to filing a lawsuit, so consulting an attorney early to get started is recommended. 

Living with a serious illness such as uterine or endometrial cancer is emotionally and financially debilitating for you and your family. Contact Childers, Schlueter & Smith online or call (800) 641-0098 for more information or a free case consultation.

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