Chemicals in Hair Straightening Products

Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit

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Hair Relaxers and Straighteners Linked to Cancer

Some popular hair products could have dangerous health consequences. An NIH-funded study published in October 2022 found an association between women who regularly used chemical hair relaxer products and uterine cancer:

  • Participants who used hair relaxers were at an elevated risk of developing uterine cancer (endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma) compared to participants who did not use hair relaxers; AND 
  • Participants who used hair relaxers more than four times per year more than two and half times (>2.5x) more likely to develop uterine cancer than participants who did not use relaxers as often. 

The study also warned that negative health impacts associated with using relaxers had the potential to impact Black and/or African American women more than women who identify with other races and ethnicities:

“...adverse health effects associated with straightener use could be more consequential for African American and/or Black women because of the higher prevalence and frequency of hair product use, younger age of initiating use, and harsher chemical formulations (i.e., higher concentrations of EDCs and chemicals being regulated or banned) than other races and ethnicities.” 

An earlier report from the same study found that frequent users of hair relaxers were more than 2x as likely to develop ovarian cancer.

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Morgan & Morgan

  • What Are Hair Relaxers?

    Hair relaxers are beauty industry products that use chemicals to straighten hair by breaking down cell bonds deep within the hair strand. Relaxer products are available nationwide at hair salons and at grocery, convenience, beauty supply, and drug stores, although they are only widely used in the Black community. In its natural state, Afro-hair texture is characterized by tight curl patterns and by its density and texture, but laws and societal pressures have urged or required Black women, in particular to relax their hair to conform to historically European beauty standards. For decades, companies like L’Oreal USA, Inc. have successfully marketed their chemical relaxer products to Black women and children.

  • Are Relaxers Dangerous?

    Chemical hair relaxer products are sold as paste or cream formulations that typically contain phthalates, and other hazardous chemicals associated with high cancer risk– the hazardous chemicals are combined with fragrance to act as scent preservatives and to allow products to stick to skin and hair. Relaxer product instructions direct customers to apply these formulations to their hair near the scalp, and most users must reapply the chemical products every four-six weeks to maintain their straightened style. But FDA does not require chemicals to be labeled individually when combined with “perfume” or fragrance, and consumers cannot tell from ingredient lists which hazardous chemicals are present in relaxer products.

  • Do I Have a Claim?

    The hair relaxer industry has a duty to provide safe products to consumers. Recently, women who used relaxer products and were later diagnosed with uterine cancer started filing lawsuits against companies and corporate entities involved in the development, marketing, and sale of chemical hair products. Their lawsuits are just the beginning of important efforts to hold corporations accountable and seek justice for women harmed by relaxer products and their families. Take our free case evaluation to find out if you may have a claim.

  • Which Products Are Included?

    ​​​Hair relaxer products include but are not limited to products by brands like Motions, Dark & Lovely, Soft & Beautiful, Optimum Care, Creme of Nature, Just for Me, Carson Soft Sheen, and Olive Oil. At-home products and salon-use products both qualify. 

  • Connect With a Morgan & Morgan Attorney Today

    For over 35 years, our law firm has been fighting For the People. At Morgan & Morgan, we have more than 1,000 trial-ready attorneys across the country. Our team is large and diverse, but our mission is singular–we want to deliver the best results for you and your family. 

    If you or a loved one has used hair relaxers and developed uterine cancer or ovarian cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more, please complete our free, no-obligation case evaluation form today. 

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