Women, especially Black and Hispanics, have used various chemical hair products to straighten or relax their hair for generations. This multi-billion-dollar cosmetic industry encourages these women to conform to certain beauty standards through advertisements and usage. However, recent studies have shown a link between hair straighteners and certain cancers.
Hair products are expected to meet the rigorous safety standards of cosmetic products to avoid such dangerous effects. Consumers are right to expect their hair products to be safe and not present any danger to their health. As a result, women who used cancer-causing chemical hair straighteners may be eligible to file a chemical hair straightener lawsuit to seek compensation for any damages they suffered.
The Dixon Injury Firm is a top-rated, award-winning law firm with extensive experience with product liability lawsuits ranging from defective drugs to consumer goods. Contact our product liability lawyers or call 314-208-2808 for a free case consultation with a top chemical hair straightener attorney to learn more about your legal options if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer due to the frequent use of hair relaxers or straightening products.
Studies Show Possible Link Between Hair Straightening Chemicals and Uterine Cancer
A recent study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports a growing concern about the safety of chemicals in hair relaxers and straighteners, linking the widely-used cosmetic products to an increased risk for uterine cancer in women. Frequent users of chemical hair straighteners (women who used hair straightener chemicals more than four times in the previous year) were at a higher risk (more than twice) of developing uterine cancer than those who did not use the hair straighteners.
These products are mainly used to help style wavy or curly hair by breaking down the structure and are usually used repeatedly to ensure they remain effective. This practice is now believed to expose many consumers to uterine cancer and other health conditions.
The recent NIH study supports other studies, such as the International Journal of Cancerstudy that discovered a possible connection between hair dyes and hair straighteners and their contributions to developing ovarian and breast cancers.
Can Hair Straightening Chemicals Cause Cancer?
Many chemical hair relaxing products used mainly by black women contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These EDCs are chemicals or chemical mixtures that disrupt and alter the normal functions of the endocrine system, which controls the body’s production of hormones. Interfering with the endocrine system can cause various diseases controlled by hormones, such as obesity, diabetes, and different types of cancer.
Chemical hair relaxing products contain endocrine disruptors like parabens, phthalates, and fragrances. And the link between endocrine-disrupting chemicals and certain cancers, such as breast cancer, has been widely studied, including a recent study by the National Institutes of Health.
Parabens, for example, are antimicrobial preservatives commonly used in cosmetic products. A study published in the Environmental Health Perspective reported greater levels of phthalates and parabens in black women, which can be attributed to chemical hair straightening products that black women more commonly use. This may explain why there is a higher rate and more aggressive types of endometrial and breast cancers among black women than white women.
The study also reports that those who frequently used hair straightener chemicals saw a more than double increase in cases of uterine cancer than those that never used the hair products. Uterine cancer is fairly unpopular, and these statistics may not be more than the single digits, but they show an actual increase in risk that can be linked to chemical hair relaxer products. And despite the cases being only single-digit percentages, when applied to all the women who use these hair products, the figures translate to thousands of cases of cancers.
Medical Conditions and Hormone-Related Cancers Linked to Hair Straighteners
Harmful exposure to chemical hair relaxers and straighteners places users at elevated risk for hormone-related cancers and other medical conditions. Endometrial, ovarian, and breast cancers rely on estrogen hormones to grow and develop. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can result in the overstimulation of cells and facilitate the development of either of these cancers. The connection between hair straighteners and endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer can no longer be overlooked.
A 2021 Boston University’s Black Woman Study of self-identified black women discovered that women who used lye hair products at least seven times over 15 years had a 30% higher risk of breast cancer.
Furthermore, the latest data from the Sister Study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) found 2,794 cases of breast cancer after the use of chemical hair straighteners and hair dye. The use of permanent hair dyes every five to eight weeks or over was linked to a 60% increased risk of breast cancer among black women compared to an 8% increased risk among white women.
Researchers consider lye hair relaxers one of the many chemicals that increase risk factors for breast cancer.
This is the most common cause of female reproductive cancers, accounting for almost 3% of all new cases of cancer. Based on studies, the rates of uterine cancer are on the rise in the United States, particularly among black women.
Although research has discovered that 1.64% of women who did not use hair straighteners developed uterine cancer by age 70, 4.04% of users who frequently used hair relaxers developed uterine cancer by the same age.
In addition, the National Institute has confirmed that hair-relaxing chemicals are linked with an increased risk of uterine cancer and that black and Hispanic women may be more affected due to higher use.
Uterine fibroids or tumors are noncancerous growths of the uterus that range in size and usually develop during the childbearing years.
The study above by the National Institutes of Health discovered that African Americans women’s risk of breast cancer increased by 45%. Breast cancer and other reproductive health issues, including uterine fibroids, are often connected. Another study from the American Journal of Epidemiology also confirms the connection.
Similarly, research on women from the same cohort found that frequent use of chemical hair relaxers also increased the risk of ovarian cancer.
Higher Risk of Uterine Cancer Among Black Women
While uterine cancer is considered fairly unpopular, studies show that black women are diagnosed with uterine cancer at a higher rate than any other race.
Black women made up only 7.4% of the National Institutes of Health study’s participants, but they still made up 59.9% of those that admitted to using chemical hair straighteners. Black women are also found to regularly use permanent hair dyes, which is associated with a 60% increase in breast cancer cases compared to Caucasian women.
However, more studies must be conducted to determine why black women tend to be diagnosed with more aggressive breast cancer than white women.
Common Uterine Cancer Symptoms
Signs of uterine cancer are often similar to symptoms of other health conditions. It’s crucial to consult with your health care provider as soon as possible if you’ve used chemical hair straighteners before and notice the following uterine cancer symptoms:
- Lower abdominal or pelvic area cramping or pain
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding between your periods before menopause
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding after menopause, even to a slight amount
- Frequent, prolonged, or heavy vaginal bleeding over the age of 40
- Clear or thin white vaginal discharge postmenopause
If you used chemical hair straighteners and were later diagnosed with uterine cancer, you may be eligible to seek compensation from a chemical hair straightener lawsuit.
What Damages Can One Claim for Cancer Linked to Chemical Hair Straighteners?
A cancer diagnosis is often emotionally devastating. In the early stages, cancers like uterine cancer can be cured. Many women can fully recover through a hysterectomy and other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
However, this does not change the fact that cancer can be an extremely painful and distressing illness with significant emotional and financial damages, such as:
- Medical bills. Cancer diagnosis and treatment come with astronomical costs. Lab tests, doctor visits, surgery, hospital stays, chemotherapy and radiation, reconstructive surgeries, and prescription drugs place a significant financial burden on the patients– even those with medical insurance.
- Lost wages. Undergoing cancer treatment often leads to missed work, and most sick leave work policies are never enough to offer paid time off to help cover the entire course of treatment. Patients focused on treatment and recovery are also burdened with household bills without their regular income.
- Pain and suffering. Mental anguish, pain, and suffering are also called non-economical damages and compensate the victim for emotional and physical pain, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment, physical disfigurement, emotional distress, and overall loss of quality of life.
Users have rights, and when products like chemical hair relaxers and straighteners cause illnesses as severe as uterine cancer, a product liability lawsuit and a personal injury claim should be considered.
Who is Eligible to File a Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit?
There are specific criteria that help determine if the use of chemical hair straightening products causes cancer in a particular woman. You may be qualified to file a chemical hair straightener lawsuit if you or a loved one:
- Used chemical hair relaxers or straightening products
- Later developed and were diagnosed with endometrial, breast, or uterine cancer
Only a skilled lawyer can tell you if you are eligible to file a claim, so ensure you speak to an attorney immediately to determine if you have a case. According to the statute of limitations, there may be time limits to file a chemical hair relaxer lawsuit.
When you speak to an attorney, they may ask about your experience with chemical hair straighteners. Ensure you have any information and receipts of your diagnosis readily available. If you can’t get these, our lawyers may also be able to help you get medical records. Simply contact us by filling out the form or call 314-208-2808 to learn more about your legal options for free.
Filing a Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit
When a product is introduced to the market, it is expected to be safe for users. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
If you believe your cancer diagnosis is due to the use of a chemical hair straightener, you can file a lawsuit to take a stand against the companies that put these products on the market and pursue compensation that can help cover your medical expenses and other damages.
At The Dixon Injury Law Firm, we understand how overwhelming this situation must be for the victim and loved ones. Our lawyers work to ensure the legal process is as stress-free as possible for you by handling every step of the lawsuit on your behalf.
Filing a chemical hair straightener lawsuit generally involves your attorneys and legal team:
- Confirming whether your case is eligible for legal action through a case consultation
- Building a case by obtaining evidence such as testimony and medical records
- Helping you file the chemical hair relaxer claim within deadlines as indicated in the statute of limitations
- Negotiating a settlement for your case with the defendant
- Pursuing a verdict if your case proceeds to trial in court
Our chemical hair straightener lawyers will fight aggressively to get you the settlement you are entitled to on a contingency-based agreement. You don’t pay unless we win the case.
Get Help Filing a Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit
The Dixon Injury Law Firm is a top-rated, award-winning personal injury law firm devoted to helping clients affected by defective products. With our proven and extensive knowledge and years of experience representing those who have suffered debilitating injuries, you can get the insight and skills to build a successful case.
Companies that make products like chemical hair straighteners owe consumers a basic duty of care, and their failure to sell products that are safe and free of unnecessary health risks such as cancer or at least warn of potential risks can make them liable for damages users suffer as a result of their negligence.
Speaking to a lawyer can help you learn more about whether or not you can take legal action, which parties may be liable, what damages and compensation you can pursue, and more. Our lawyers have helped clients get the compensation they are entitled to and see those responsible for their injuries brought to justice. Let us help you hold the makers and marketers of these harmful hair products accountable for their negligence.
If you or your loved one used chemical hair straighteners and have been diagnosed with cancer, then do not hesitate to call The Dixon Injury Law Firm about your potential hair straightener lawsuit. We offer free case consultations and can help you determine your legal options.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132
Phone: (314) 208-2808
I highly recommend Chris Dixon to anyone dealing with a personal injury case. He was there every step of the way, he was prompt and easy to get a hold of at any time during this process. He is very educated and highly skilled in his field and helped me receive the best medical attention possible. If you’re looking for the best personal injury in St. Louis, look no further. Chris Dixon, in my eyes, is the best!
– Ryan B.