Since October 2022, women who habitually used hair relaxers have filed hair relaxer lawsuits against hair care product manufacturers like L’Oreal for health conditions caused by toxic chemicals. Hair relaxers contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can cause hormone imbalance and health conditions like uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, and ovarian cancer.
Many women may have experienced hormone-sensitive health issues and wondered if they qualify to file a hair relaxer lawsuit. If you suffered these health conditions and can prove you used chemical hair relaxers consistently, you have the right to pursue compensation for damages by filing a hair relaxer lawsuit.
Hair Relaxer Lawsuits Filed Because of National Institute of Health Study
The first of the hair relaxer lawsuits filed to hold hair care manufacturers accountable for their negligence occurred in October of 2022 after a National Institute of Health (NIH) study was released. The researchers were interested in the cause of the recent uptick in uterine cancer rates and used data from the Sister Study to determine whether hair care products could be the root cause.
The Sister Study involved tens of thousands of women ages 35-74 answering annual questionnaires about their hair care product use and what health conditions they suffered from. Using the data of 33,497 women from the eleven-year Sister Study, the NIH study revealed that 378 women suffered from uterine cancer. The NIH researchers discovered that using hair relaxers at least four times yearly increased uterine cancer risk from 1.64% to 4.05%.
Health Conditions Caused by Hair Relaxer Use
Uterine cancer was not the only health condition consistent hair relaxer use could cause. Hair relaxers contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that break down the protein structures in the hair to straighten it. However, these harmful chemicals can also upset a woman’s hormone balance, leading to hormone-sensitive health issues. EDCs cause hormone imbalance by tricking the body into thinking they are hormones, blocking hormone functionality, and altering the body’s hormone sensitivity.
The following are some of the hormone-sensitive health conditions caused by the EDCs in hair relaxers:
- Uterine cancer
- Uterine fibroids
- Ovarian cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Uterine sarcoma
The impact of the above health issues can lead to significant financial and emotional losses. In severe cases, they may require a hysterectomy, which is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus. This can cost a significant amount of money and result in negative psychological effects. With the uterus removed, a woman will not be able to become pregnant, which can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Hair Relaxer Users Can File a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit to Pursue Compensation for Damages
Women who suffered the financial and psychological impact of a hormone-sensitive health issue filed hair relaxer lawsuits to pursue compensatory damages. The first of these lawsuits was filed by Jenny Mitchell, a Chicago native that filed a lawsuit against L’Oreal for uterine cancer caused by hair relaxer use. She suffered uterine cancer at the age of 28 after using hair relaxers from a young age.
If you wish to file a hair relaxer lawsuit like Jenny Mitchell, there are a few criteria you must meet. Hair relaxer plaintiffs must have used hair relaxers habitually over a long period of time. They also must have suffered one of the above health conditions and experienced significant losses as a result of their hormone-sensitive health issue.
Proving You Suffered Adverse Health Conditions Due to Hair Relaxer Use
To qualify to file a hair relaxer lawsuit, you must be able to prove that you meet the criteria. The hair relaxer defendants, such as L’Oreal, Strength of Nature, and Namaste Laboratories, will not hand out settlements just because someone says they suffered damages. You must be able to collect tangible evidence to prove that you meet every criterion for filing a hair relaxer lawsuit.
Proving you used hair relaxers consistently enough to suffer health issues would involve you showing pictures, receipts, and other forms of documentation that can establish you used the products. You must also present medical records to establish you suffered one of the above hormone-sensitive health conditions. Your medical records can also show the cost of your immense economic losses. A product liability lawyer can help you collect evidence to prove you qualify for a hair relaxer lawsuit.
What Damages Can You Pursue with a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit?
The value of your hair relaxer lawsuit comes down to what damages you suffered due to your hormone-sensitive health issue. Adverse health conditions, such as the forms of cancer caused by uterine cancer, can cause financial and psychological fallout you could pursue compensation for.
Economic damages are losses that have a specific monetary value associated with them. Non-economic damages are intangible losses that reflect how your standard of living was affected by your health issues. Contact a product liability lawyer to allow them to help you calculate the current and future costs of your damages to determine what you should pursue with your hair relaxer lawsuit.
The following are some of the damages you could pursue in a hair relaxer lawsuit:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of parental services and guidance
Hair Relaxer MDL Consolidation Approved
The Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) recently consolidated all hair relaxer lawsuits into a multi-district litigation. There are currently about 75 hair relaxer lawsuits that will be seen in front of Judge Mary M. Rowland in the Northern District of Illinois. This helps hair relaxer plaintiffs, as it can streamline discovery and allows them to pool resources.
At a recent status conference, Judge Rowland took the first step to allowing all future hair relaxer lawsuits to join the hair relaxer MDL. She gave the plaintiffs and defendants until March 31st to propose an order for allowing direct filing. If you suffered a hormone-sensitive health issue because of consistent hair relaxer use, you should speak to a product liability lawyer soon to go over your options for filing a hair relaxer lawsuit and joining the hair relaxer MDL.