Chemical hair straightener lawsuits claim that the straighteners made by L'Oreal and other companies can cause uterine cancer and other health issues. According to lawsuits, manufacturers failed to warn that their products could increase the risk of uterine cancer, breast cancer, fibroids and endometriosis.
Hundreds predominantly Black women, are pointing to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in October 2022 that found an association between the frequent use of hair-straightening products and uterine cancer.
"We know now that these chemicals are responsible for the tragic number of users' reproductive cancer," Ben Crump, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in an official statement. "This litigation will bring justice to these women and their families and hold corporations that put profits over people accountable for their deadly actions."
"We estimated that 1.64% of women who never used hair straighteners would go on to develop uterine cancer by the age of 70; but for frequent users, that risk goes up to 4.05%," Dr. Alexandra White, the study's lead author, said in a summary of the study released in October by the National Institutes of Health. The study defined frequent use as the use of straightening products more than four times per year.
Ben Crump is joined by attorney Diandra "Fu" Debrossee Zimmerman as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs appointed as co-leads of multidistrict litigation in federal court, according to a statement put out by Ben Crump Law.
There are over 600,000 uterine cancer survivors in the U.S. today, and 50,000 more are diagnosed each year. The numbers for cervical cancer are similar. Even if we assume that only 15% of these women used hair relaxer on a regular basis (which is probably an underestimate) that still would affect lots of women.