Women who have developed cancer from chemical hair relaxers and consumer advocates are expressing frustration that the makers of these products are resisting calls to pull them from the market. At this point, multiple studies have indicated that repeatedly using chemical hair relaxers can substantially increase a woman’s lifetime risk of certain cancers. As plaintiffs work to hold negligent hair relaxer makers accountable in chemical hair relaxer lawsuits, the makers of chemical hair relaxers are still denying that they have any liability in the claims brought against them and support their products.
If you have relied on chemical hair relaxers to style your hair and have since developed cancer of the reproductive system, you should consider seeking compensation for the value of your damages. For a complex product liability claim such as this, it is in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation. They will have the resources and expertise to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf for the compensation you deserve.
Activists Demand Recall of Carcinogenic Chemical Hair Relaxers
Consumer advocates and plaintiffs in the chemical hair relaxer lawsuits are calling for these products to be recalled from the shelves. They argue that the makers of chemical hair relaxers are aware that their products contain dangerous carcinogenic chemicals, and that a failure to provide warning labels or issue a recall is tantamount to negligence.
If the makers of chemical hair relaxers are unwilling, advocates argue that the Food and Drug Administration should step in. While the FDA is charged with monitoring the safety of food, drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics, it is not required to test cosmetics before they are made publicly available. In most cases, they would lack the authority to recall a cosmetic product like a chemical hair straightener.
However, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act could allow the FDA to intercede on the public's behalf because the chemical hair relaxers have not been accurately labeled to reflect the dangerous chemicals they contain. Whether or not the FDA will take action remains to be seen. Advocates have also tried to persuade the manufacturers of chemical hair relaxers to issue recalls of their defective products.
Manufacturers Reject Demands to Recall Defective Chemical Hair Relaxers
Thus far, the defendants in the chemical hair relaxer lawsuits, which include companies such as L’Oreal, have not issued recalls of their products despite mounting evidence of their risks. According to a spokesperson for L’Oreal, the company is “confident in the safety of our products and believe the recent [product liability] lawsuits filed against us have no legal merit.” The chemical hair relaxer makers have also resisted attempts by plaintiffs to consolidate their claims, to no avail. They argue that there is insufficient evidence to show that the effects experienced by plaintiffs are attributable to any one product or chemical.
Women Sue Chemical Hair Relaxer Manufacturers in Multidistrict Litigation
Women began filing product liability lawsuits against chemical hair in light of a report released in October 2022. A National Institute of Health study found a causal relationship between frequent usage of chemical hair relaxers and an increased risk of developing several types of cancer, such as uterine cancer. Their data shows that women who used these products four or more times a year, which is not unusual for women with curly hair, were at more than twice the risk of developing certain hormone-sensitive cancers.
The demographic most at risk based on usage habits is Black women, as they are more likely to style their hair with chemical straighteners on a more frequent basis than women of other races. Researchers believe that the endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the hair relaxers compromise the body’s perceived estrogen balance, triggering uncontrollable cell growth in reproductive organs. Thus far, the following cancers have been associated with regular usage of chemical hair relaxers:
Multidistrict Litigation Proceeds for Chemical Hair Relaxer Claims
The women filing these claims alleged similar complaints. Essentially, they accused the makers of chemical hair straighteners of negligence for failing to label their products with a warning about the increased risk of developing cancer. They argue that if they had access to this information, they could have avoided their injuries and resulting damages.
Based on the similar facts of the cases, plaintiffs requested that the courts consolidate their claims into a multidistrict litigation. Following a hearing in January 2023, and over the objections of the defendants, the chemical hair relaxer lawsuits were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation under U.S. District Judge Mary Rowland.
The claims process is moving along, with lead counsel for both sides having been appointed. To expedite the claims process, District Judge Rowland has made it possible for new plaintiffs to directly file their chemical hair relaxer claims under the multidistrict litigation. U.S. District Judge Rowland has also taken the opportunity to create a plaintiff leadership development committee for the less experienced personal injury attorneys representing the injured parties to learn more about how a multidistrict litigation works.
Recovering Compensation for Damages in a Chemical Hair Relaxer Lawsuit
If the plaintiffs in the chemical hair relaxer lawsuits are successful in meeting the burden of proof to establish liability, they will still be responsible for demonstrating that the damages they are seeking compensation for are a result of the injuries they sustained. For many women who developed cancer from using chemical hair relaxers, the cost extends beyond the typical financial expense and stress of cancer.
Cancers that develop in the female reproductive system are commonly treated with a hysterectomy, which renders a woman unable to have children. This creates additional financial, physical, and emotional losses for women who are robbed of having additional children or becoming parents at all. The plaintiffs in the chemical hair relaxer lawsuits make be able to recover compensation for their economic damages, or financial losses, as well as their non-economic damages, which include emotional losses.
Examples of Damages in a Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit:
- Medical bills
- Lab tests
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Hospital stays
- Job-related losses
- Lost wages
- Missed promotions
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of services and support
- Loss of parental guidance and instruction
Contact an Experienced Hair Relaxer Lawyer
Women who believe that their use of chemical hair relaxers is related to their reproductive cancer diagnosis should investigate the legal options available to them. The first step in this process is scheduling a free consultation with a qualified product liability attorney. A product liability attorney can offer invaluable legal advice, explain the personal injury claims process, and negotiate to maximize your compensation in a chemical hair relaxer cancer lawsuit.