Hair Relaxer Lawsuits
Companies like L’Oreal that market and sell hair relaxer products claim they are safe. Recent research shows hair relaxers might increase the risk of uterine, breast, and ovarian cancers. Because Black women use hair relaxers the most, they are particularly at risk. Minnesota-based Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., invites you to learn more about chemical hair relaxer lawsuits and how to pursue compensation if a product has harmed you.
Hair relaxers are chemical straighteners that change the composition of hair so curly hair stays straight for months at a time. Recent research has shown the components in hair relaxers can increase the risk of certain types of cancers. New lawsuits are being filed against cosmetic giants such as L’Oreal for producing and selling these products, which include the brands Dark and Lovely, Motions, and ORS Olive Oil. The lawsuits seek to hold the companies accountable for marketing and profiting from a potentially dangerous product.
If you have cancer and have used hair relaxers, you might want to speak with a lawyer about your options. The Minneapolis personal injury lawyers at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., are here to discuss your situation and help you make an informed decision.
What Is Behind the Hair Relaxer Lawsuits?
Many women regularly use hair relaxer products to straighten their hair. Manufacturers especially market the products to Black women. Researchers have now determined that these products contain chemicals linked to increased risks for uterine, ovarian, endometrial, breast, and other cancers.
Although hair relaxers have been around for decades, it is only in the past few years that the public has become aware of a potential connection between them and increased cancer rates. As consumer awareness grows, people who have used these products want to hold companies accountable through lawsuits.
The chemical hair relaxer lawsuits claim that cosmetic brands knew the hair relaxers they made and sold had harmful chemicals, but they continued to sell them. Even though “buyer beware” is a common adage, the truth is that companies have a legal duty to ensure product safety. If there are risks in a product, they must warn consumers. According to the Code of Federal Regulations 21 CFR 740 (1), cosmetic products must have a warning statement to prevent a health hazard that may be associated with the product. Other laws and legal principles might also apply to a hair relaxer lawsuit.
In addition to L’Oreal, other companies, such as Godrej SON Holdings Inc. and Dabur International Ltd. subsidiaries, have faced legal action.
L’Oreal has posted an online statement claiming its products are safe and that the lawsuits have no legal merit.
What Is the Connection Between Hair Relaxers and Cancer?
Several recent research studies have revealed a link between hair relaxers and cancer. While none of the studies show a definitive connection between the product and these serious health conditions, the results are striking. The results demonstrate that those who use hair relaxers have higher rates of diagnoses for uterine, breast, and ovarian cancers.
- A 2022 study that followed 33,947 women over an average of 10.9 years found an association between hair-straightening products and uterine cancer. The association was stronger with more frequent use. The participants in the study were racially and ethnically diverse.
- Another study followed 50,543 Black women between 1997 and 2017. The study, published in 2017, found there was some evidence that hair relaxers with lye increased the risk of ER+ breast cancer. ER+ breast cancer is a subtype of breast cancer positive for estrogen receptors.
- A study that followed 40,559 women for an average of 10 years found an association between the use of hair straighteners, relaxers, and pressing products and the occurrence of ovarian cancers.
- A 2019 study found a higher risk of breast cancer among women who used any type of hair straightener. The study followed 46,709 women.
So why might hair relaxers lead to higher rates of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer? Some suggest that the chemical components in hair relaxers, which break down chemical bonds in hair fibers to eliminate texture or curls, are carcinogenic or cancer-causing. However, no chemical isolated in hair relaxers is definitively known to cause cancer.
Some of the chemicals in these products might cause cancer, such as the following:
- Formaldehyde-releasing chemicals
- Oxidized para-phenylenediamine
The BBC reported that hair relaxer ingredients differ depending on the brand. Among the chemicals in hair relaxers are sodium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, guanidine hydroxide, and ammonium thioglycolate.
Who Is Most Affected By the Potential Harm Caused by Hair Relaxers?
According to a 2017 study, hair relaxer use is more common among Black women than white women. The study found that 88 percent of Black women use relaxers while just 5 percent of white women do. This fact is particularly disheartening, considering mortality rates for people with breast cancer are highest among Black women.
Another at-risk group is hairdressers. Many of these professionals work with relaxers regularly while styling customers’ hair. They have regular exposure to the chemicals in these products even if they do not use them personally.
How Does a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Work?
When a manufacturer sells an unsafe product, a lawsuit can help victims recover compensation for what they have lost. It will not make up for the experience of cancer, but it can help people recover financial expenses such as lost wages and medical costs, as well as non-monetary damages such as pain and suffering.
A lawsuit can also tell big companies such as L’Oreal that they are responsible for distributing safe products. They should be held to account for the harm to individuals who used their products in good faith.
A hair relaxer lawsuit is based on a product liability claim. Product liability cases stem from design flaws, manufacturing errors, or the failure to warn of known dangers.
A product liability lawyer can investigate the product itself and the harm it caused. The product might be dangerous in its composition or might have been marketed without adequate warnings about safety hazards. For a product people frequently use, such as hair relaxers, transparency from the manufacturer about safety hazards is particularly important.
Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer in Minnesota About a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit
Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., are personal injury lawyers who have represented Minnesota residents since 1963. Our dedication to client care and passion for justice make us a strong choice for anyone who seeks legal representation. We take cases on a contingency basis, which means you only pay us if we secure you a settlement.
It might seem unimaginable to take on a large corporation such as L’Oreal and other makers of hair relaxers. Our law firm does not shy away from challenges. Our experience and past success in winning client settlements demonstrate that we provide the best legal representation for individuals living in Minnesota who would like to file a hair relaxer lawsuit.
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Content Reviewed by:
Alan Scott Milavetz