A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute established the first epidemiologic evidence of a connection between hair straightening (or “hair relaxing”) products and uterine cancer. The study, overseen by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), revealed that females who used chemical hair straightening products frequently (more than four times per year) were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with uterine cancer than individuals who never used the products.
If you or someone you love used chemical hair straightening products consistently and were later diagnosed with uterine cancer, you could be entitled to seek compensation from the maker(s) of the product you used. Companies have a legal responsibility to manufacture and sell safe products, and numerous companies seemingly failed to honor that obligation when they created hair straightening products using hazardous chemicals.
If you think your uterine cancer was caused by frequent exposure to hair-relaxing products, you deserve a chance to hold the manufacturer accountable for their negligence. Contact TruLaw for a free, no-risk consultation to find out whether you have a case.
What Are the Hair Product Uterine Cancer Lawsuits?
On October 24, 2022, The Washington Post and other outlets reported that a federal lawsuit was filed against L’Oréal and other cosmetics companies, alleging that hazardous chemicals found in their hair straightening products put consumers at an increased risk of developing uterine cancer. The lawsuit was filed by Jenny Mitchell, who was forced to undergo a hysterectomy at 28 after being diagnosed with uterine cancer.
The lawsuit was filed just a short time after the NIH published the results of their study. The study followed 33,497 Sister Study participants over 10+ years and confirmed a link between hair-relaxing products and uterine cancer.
The findings were especially concerning for Black women like Mitchell, who have reported using chemical hair straightening products at higher rates than other demographics. Uterine cancer is more common among Black women than women in other groups, and tragically, Black women are also more likely to die due to uterine cancer than women from other demographics.
Still, anyone who developed uterine cancer after using chemical hair straightening products could be entitled to recover damages through a civil lawsuit. If you meet these criteria, you might be able to pursue compensation for medical expenses, in-home care, lost income, lost quality of life, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and other losses. To determine whether you qualify for a lawsuit, you should reach out to an experienced Illinois product liability lawyer at TruLaw.
What Is Uterine Cancer?
Uterine cancer is an umbrella term for a group of cancers that affect the uterus. The uterus, where unborn fetuses grow during pregnancy, is the primary component of the female reproductive system.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of uterine cancer include:
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Irregular vaginal bleeding between periods or after menopause
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Abnormal menstruation
- Abnormal weight loss
There are two types of uterine cancer: endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma. Endometrial cancer is far more common than uterine sarcoma. According to the American Cancer Society, it is the most prevalent cancer of the female reproductive system. Endometrial cancer occurs in the inner lining of the uterus when cells there grow out of control and form a tumor. A hysterectomy is typically the recommended course of treatment.
The other type of uterine cancer, uterine sarcoma, is a much rarer type of cancer than endometrial cancer. It occurs in the muscle of the uterus as well as in surrounding tissues. The American Cancer Society says that uterine sarcomas account for just two to five percent of uterine cancers.
Which Chemicals in Hair Straightening Products Are Linked to Uterine Cancer?
The NIH study didn’t compile data on specific brands that participants used, but it did name numerous chemicals typically found in hair straightening products that could increase the likelihood of developing uterine cancer. Those chemicals include:
- Sodium hydroxide
- Bisphenol A
- Heavy metals
The chemicals in hair straightening products have also been linked to breast cancer and other hormone-related cancers.
Who Is Most At-Risk of Developing Uterine Cancer Due to Hair Products?
Women who regularly use hair straightening products may have a higher risk of developing uterine cancer when compared with people who don’t use these products.
Because hair straightening products (also called hair relaxers) are very popular with Black women, Black women may be more vulnerable to developing uterine cancer from these products than other groups. Black women already pass away due to uterine cancer at double the rate of other racial and ethnic groups.
According to the University of Washington, the mortality rate for Black women with endometrial cancer is 39.1 percent. For white women, it is 19.8 percent. In general, Black women have a 55 percent higher mortality rate for endometrial cancer than other demographics.
Contact TruLaw for Help with Your Hair Product Uterine Cancer Lawsuit
The attorneys at TruLaw are currently investigating claims that the chemicals found in hair relaxers can lead to uterine cancer. If you believe you qualify for a lawsuit, you should contact a product liability attorney at TruLaw for a free, instant case evaluation.
The recent federal lawsuit filed by Jenny Mitchell has been called a “watershed moment” for women of color who were never warned about the dangers of frequently using hair straightening products by L’Oréal and other cosmetic companies. The fact that many Black women straighten their hair because of societal pressures makes this issue even more tragic.
We will be monitoring the status of civil legal action against the manufacturers of hair straightening products as we gather prospective clients and work to assess the viability of hair product uterine cancer lawsuits.
Reach out to our legal team today if you think you might have a case. We’ll review the details of your situation and discuss your legal options.