Women File Hair Straightening Product Lawsuits Over Cancer Connection

Women File Hair Straightening Product Lawsuits Over Cancer Connection

There is a growing scientific consensus that certain chemical hair straightening products can significantly increase the risk of uterine cancer due to endocrine-disrupting chemicals that interfere with hormone regulation. Women across the country are seeking damages in product liability lawsuits against L’Oreal and their subsidiary brands after undergoing drastic treatments, accumulating significant medical bills, and sustaining a variety of other damages like lost wages.

If you have reason to believe that your uterine cancer is connected to the use of L’Oreal hair relaxers or chemical straightener brands, you should speak with a product liability attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options. 

L’Oreal Hair Straightening Products Linked to Uterine Cancer in Government Study

A disturbing pattern has been uncovered by an NIH study that shows women who use chemical hair straightening products, also called hair relaxers, are at a significantly higher risk of developing uterine cancer. The study followed over 30,000 women for more than a decade. Based on their data, researchers assert that women who regularly use these hair relaxers are at twice the risk of developing uterine cancer. This causal relationship emerges after only a few uses every year. 

The products in question are primarily marketed to Black women and women of color who want to straighten their naturally curly hair. Studies have shown that Black women are already at a heightened risk for uterine cancer, which can lead to significant health complications. Despite the findings of this study, L’Oreal argues that its products are rigorously tested and comply with current FDA standards. However, the danger of using these products cannot be ignored when the potential price is a rare and sometimes aggressive form of cancer.

Developing Uterine Cancer Compromises Fertility 

Uterine cancer has a high survival rate when identified early, but when it goes undetected and spreads, the survival rate drops to 17%. While common cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy, are often used to combat uterine cancer, a type of surgery called a hysterectomy is also used to remove the cancer-ridden tissue. Hysterectomies leave a woman infertile and trigger menopause, both of which can cause significant physical discomfort and emotional distress.

Women without a family history of this rare form of cancer may not know to look for the signs of uterine cancer. This is why it is imperative for those who use chemical hair relaxers to be aware of the risks associated with these products, even ones marked “ultra nourishing” or “botanical”.

Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Cancer

Those who have regularly used hair relaxers and hair straightening chemicals should be aware of any potential signs they may have developed uterine cancers such as endometrial cancer or uterine sarcoma. Catching Uterine cancer as early as possible significantly improves one's chances at recovery and increases what options are available to you for treatment.

Unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge can potentially indicate that you have uterine cancer. Uterine cancer can occur in any age group although rates are higher among older demographics. Vaginal bleeding during or after menopause is a strong indicator that something is wrong as well as uncharacteristically heavy or prolonged bleeding among the premenopausal.

These uterine cancer symptoms are usually also accompanied by pain in the pelvic area as well as abnormal results from a PAP test. If you suspect any of these symptoms apply to you then seek a medical diagnosis from your physician as soon as possible.

Establishing Liability in a Product Liability Lawsuit

In the case of the accusations against L’Oreal, the allegation is that they failed to warn consumers that their products were linked to an increased risk of uterine cancer and that they should have been aware of this danger. The claims argue that by failing to properly warn consumers, they were negligent, and are therefore liable for the injuries caused by their defective products.

In a product liability lawsuit, the burden of proof rests with the plaintiff. Product liability lawsuits fall under civil litigation, so the plaintiff’s representatives have to demonstrate that their claim is more likely than not to be valid. This means that your product liability lawyers will need to leverage the evidence available, such as medical records, expert witness testimony, and research to argue that the defective hair straightening product more likely than not caused your uterine cancer.

What Damages Can I Recover in a Product Liability Lawsuit?

Like most serious illnesses, cancer is accompanied by a host of economic and non-economic costs. In many cases, uterine cancer patients must make drastic lifestyle changes to accommodate their treatments. These losses can be reimbursed in a product liability lawsuit, provided that they are linked to injuries sustained as a result of a defective product, which in this instance would be the chemical hair relaxers.

Women who have developed uterine cancer as a result of repeated use of L’Oreal chemical hair straightener products will likely have a variety of economic damages, which have a set price tag. Additionally, they can seek compensation for non-economic damages that have caused emotional harm. 

Examples of Damages in a Product Liability Lawsuit:

  • Medical bills
    • Surgery
    • Chemo
    • Radiation
    • Medication
  • Job-related losses
    • Lost wages
    • Reduced earning capacity
    • Missed promotions
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death
    • Funeral and burial costs

Understanding Non-Economic Damages in the Context of Hair Straightener Cancer Lawsuits

When discussing uterine cancer, the non-economic damages can be extensive. For example, the first woman to file a product liability lawsuit against L’Oreal for their carcinogenic hair relaxers, Jennifer Mitchell had a full hysterectomy at the age of 28 after developing uterine cancer. She will no longer be able to have children as a result of this procedure, which had been a life-long dream of hers. 

If the negligence allegations against L’Oreal prove to be true, injured parties like Ms. Mitchell clearly deserve to be reimbursed for such a devastating loss. However, it can be difficult to place a dollar value on the physical pain she endured as a result of the surgery and recovery, in addition to the loss of the opportunity to become a mother. In order to ensure that the value of your damages is correctly calculated, it is best to seek out the professional opinion of a personal injury lawyer who has handled defective product claims before.  


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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