Is There a Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit?

Yes, women throughout the United States are pursuing a hair relaxer lawsuit after discovering that toxic chemicals in the perm kits cause cancer and other life-changing side effects.

The product liability lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. provide free consultations and claim evaluations for women diagnosed with uterine cancer, ovarian cancer or uterine fibroids after regular or prolonged exposure to hair relaxer or perm products, which have been found to contain several well-documented carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting chemicals associated with the diagnosis of certain cancers and conditions.

A growing body of medical research has been published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and peer reviewed medical journals, raising concerns about the side effects of hair relaxer products.

The studies have identified several toxic chemicals frequently used in hair relaxers that may cause cancer, reproductive complications and developmental issues.

List of Products Named in Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

Potential lawsuits for hair relaxer users are being investigated against the manufacturers of several popular products widely marketed throughout the United States, including:

L’Oréal USA Products, Inc.
Optimum
L’Oréal USA Products, Inc.
Soft & Beautiful
Nature Global, LLC
Motions
Nature Global, LLC
TCB Naturals
Strength of Nature Global, LLC
Just for Me
Strength of Nature Global, LLC
Olive Oil Girls
Namaste Laboratories, LLC
Organic Root Stimulator
Namaste Laboratories, LLC

As a result of manufacturers misrepresentation and failure to warn about the link between hair relaxers and cancer, settlement benefits may now be available for you and your family.

Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Criteria

Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. is reviewing hair relaxer cases for individuals who routinely used chemical hair relaxers and straighteners and have been diagnosed or experienced any of the following cancers or conditions;

  • Uterine Cancer (including Uterine Sarcoma)
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Uterine Fibroids (resulting in surgery)

To help determine the hair relaxer settlement amount that you or a loved one may be eligible to receive, request a no-obligation case evaluation today.

Hair Relaxer Lawsuit: Everything you should know (Video Guide)

DO YOU QUALIFY FOR A HAIR RELAXER LAWSUIT?

Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Overview

Following multiple studies that link hair relaxers and cancer side effects, a growing number of women are now pursuing hair perm lawsuits over the manufacturer’s failure to warn about the toxic side effects of undisclosed chemicals used in hair straightening products.

  • Consumers began filing hair relaxer lawsuits after a new study was published in October 2022, which found that women who used hair relaxers more than 4 times per year faced significantly increased risks of developing uterine cancer.
  • The first hair relaxer uterine cancer lawsuits were brought in early November 2022, claiming manufacturers failed to warn that endocrine disrupting chemicals used in the products could amplify cancer cell growth in female reproductive organs.
  • As women continue to learn about the side effects caused by hair relaxers or perms, and the potential link between hair relaxers or perms and cancer, the litigation is expected to grow significantly throughout the coming years.
  • Lawyers are actively investigating new cases for women who have suffered injuries from exposure to toxic chemicals in hair relaxer products.

2024 Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Updates

May 15, 2024 Update: Attorneys representing plaintiffs in the hair relaxer lawsuits recently requested Judge Rowland to permit the dismissal of certain cases without prejudice. On May 14, they filed a motion for leave to dismiss cases without prejudice(PDF) seeking approval to exclude claims not linked to uterine, endometrial, or ovarian cancer from the ongoing multidistrict litigation. This action, if approved, would allow affected women the option to refile their lawsuits should they subsequently be diagnosed with uterine, endometrial, or ovarian cancers. The move comes amidst initial uncertainties over the scope of injuries covered, including claims concerning uterine fibroids and various non-gynecological cancers. The lawyers contend that there is a likelihood some plaintiffs might develop the specified cancers in the future.

March 1, 2024 Update: The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an updated docket report on March 1, 2024, indicating at least 8,334 product liability lawsuits have been filed in the Hair Relaxer Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation. The majority of these lawsuits are filed by women alleging that they developed uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, fibroids, or other injuries due to exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in Dark & Lovely, Just for Me, Optimum, ORS Olive Oil, and other chemical hair straighteners.

February 5, 2024 Update: The manufacturers behind Dark & Lovely, Just for Me, Optimum, and other defendants named in hair relaxer claims have requested the dismissal of hair relaxer class action lawsuits related to the products on February 5, citing that claims for economic damages are overridden by federal law. They contend that the plaintiffs have failed to adequately demonstrate harm and do not possess the legal right to pursue a nationwide class action. Despite this, if the motion is granted, the manufacturers will still face thousands of individual lawsuits being filed alleging injuries from hair relaxer products.

January 16, 2024 Update: The parties submitted separate plans for the first hair relaxer lawsuit trials. Plaintiffs the first hair relaxer bellwether trials should focus on endometrial, ovarian, and uterine cancer cases, as these are the most common injuries raised in hair relaxer lawsuits.

December 8, 2023 Update: After failing to meet the December 11, 2023 deadline to agree on a Hair Relaxer MDL Bellwether Protocol, plaintiffs and manufacturers filed a joint motion (PDF) on December 8, requesting an extension to submit separate proposals, proposing to submit individual plans instead. Judge Rowland approved this request, setting a new deadline of December 18, 2023, for the separate submissions.

November 13, 2023 Update: Judge Rowland issued a memorandum opinion and order (PDF) on November 13, clearing thousands of lawsuits against hair relaxer companies to proceed, rejecting the companies’ attempts to dismiss claims that their products, containing toxic chemicals, have caused uterine and ovarian cancer, among other injuries.

October 25, 2023 Update: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a proposed rule aiming to ban dangerous chemicals in hair relaxers, particularly formaldehyde and compounds releasing formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. It is expected that if the rule is finalized, the new regulation could lead to a series of hair relaxer recalls in 2024, which would support the claims being made by thousands of individuals pursuing hair relaxer cancer and injury claims. Just one week after the FDA issued the proposed rule, the U.S. JPML released an updated docket (PDF) indicating there are now almost 6,000 complaints pending in the hair relaxer multidistrict litigation, a significant increase from the 250 claims reported in July 2023.

February 7, 2023 Update: A federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) has been established for all hair relaxer lawsuits brought by women nationwide, which will be centralized before U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland in the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Rowland is a fair and respected jurist, who has been on the federal bench since 2018. Prior to that, Judge Rowland was a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the same Court since 2012. Over the coming months, it is expected that the organizational structure of the hair relaxer MDL will be established, and discovery in the litigation will get underway.

January 23, 2023 Update: The U.S. JPML will hold oral arguments (PDF) at the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Miami, Florida on January 23, 2023, to decide whether an MDL should be created for hair relaxer lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system.

December 2022 Update: Several manufactures including L’Oréal, Dabur, House of Cheatham and Strength of Nature filed responses with the U.S. JPML on December 7, 2022, opposing centralization of the growing number of hair relaxer lawsuits being filed over uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine fibroids. While each manufacturer raised arguments against centralizing the hair relaxer cases in to one multidistrict litigation, it is expected that the U.S. JPML will establish a hair relaxer MDL, since thousands of lawsuits are expected to be filed in the coming months and years.

November 2022 Update: With at least nine hair relaxer lawsuits already pending in the federal court system, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion (PDF) with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) this month, calling for all hair relaxer lawsuits to be centralized before a U.S. District Judge in Illinois for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Hair Relaxer Settlement Amounts

As hair relaxer class action lawsuits and individual cancer claims move forward, questions are often asked about what potential hair relaxer settlement amounts women can expect. One of the most frequently asked questions our lawyers receive is about the potential value of hair relaxer settlements, but there have not yet been any actual lawsuit payouts made by the manufacturers of these products.

A number of factors and developments over the next few years will impact hair relaxer settlement amounts. However, based on the different injuries and types of cancer caused by hair relaxers, our product liability attorneys believe that the average hair relaxer lawsuit payout will have a very wide range.

For example, Just for Me hair relaxer lawsuits will involve claims for women who started using the hair straighteners as young children. Evidence of using hair relaxers as a child and throughout their adult life may provide stronger evidence for a jury of sufficient exposure to explain how the chemicals caused them to develop uterine cancer, ovarian cancer or other reproductive problems.

During the settlement negotiations, the value of individual claims will be considered and any offer will be based on the amount a jury may award as a hair relaxer lawsuit payout if each claim goes to trial. The potential amount of a hair relaxer jury award will also be weighed against risks associated with taking each case to trial, and the amount of time it would take for the Courts to make an individual hair relaxer award in each case.

It is important to note that it is currently too early in the litigation process to predict when hair relaxer lawsuits will settle, or provide an accurately predicted settlement value for individual cases. However, based on similar cancer lawsuit payouts in other claims, our lawyers believe that the average hair relaxer cancer settlement will be substantial.

Potential for a Hair Relaxer Global Settlement

Many mass tort product liability lawsuits are resolved through a global settlement, where defendants in the litigation agree to set aside a large sum of money to resolve claims brought by a large group of plaintiffs.

In a hair relaxer global settlement, individual plaintiffs’ payouts may be determined based on a tiered system, where each woman’s claim is categorized based on the severity of their injuries and the strength of their case. Those in higher tiers receive higher settlement payouts, while those in lower tiers receive lesser amounts. During the settlement distribution process, information is often presented to a court-appointed special master or other settlement mediator for review and evaluation.

If a global settlement is offered, each individual plaintiff will still have the option to decide whether to participate in the program, or continue to pursue an individual lawsuit payout award from a jury.

Can Hair Relaxer Cause Cancer?

In recent years multiple studies have been published that suggest a possible link between hair relaxers and cancer, including uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and hormone disorders.

Researchers have warned many hair relaxer products contain as many as 5,000 chemicals, many of which are classified as toxic, including, but not limited to;

  • Formaldehyde
  • Phthalates
  • Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate (DEHP)
  • Cyclosiloxanes
  • Bisphenol A
  • Parabens
  • Other harmful toxins and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets forth laws under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act that expressly prohibits the marketing or sale of cosmetic products from containing poisonous or harmful substances that could cause injury to a consumer. However, many cosmetic manufacturers mislabel their hair relaxer or omit these toxins from the ingredients labels, withholding important safety information from consumers.

2023 Study: Uterine Cancer Risk from Hair Relaxer for Black Women

In a study published in the medical journal Environmental Research on December 15, 2023, researchers indicated that long-term use of chemical hair relaxers can increase the risk of uterine cancer among postmenopausal Black women by over 70%.

Analyzing data from nearly 45,000 Black women, including 347 diagnosed with uterine cancer, the study found a strong correlation between hair relaxer usage and uterine cancer risk, including;

  • Moderate use of hair relaxer increases uterine cancer risk by 60%.
  • Heavy use of hair relaxer increases uterine cancer risks by 64%.
  • Using hair relaxers for 20 years or more increases uterine cancer risk by over 70%.

The findings suggests a dose-response relationship, indicating that the frequency and duration of hair straightener use significantly impacts uterine cancer risks among Black women.

2022 Study: Hair Relaxers Increase Uterine Cancer Risks

A study performed by researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) that was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in October 2022, established one of the first links between hair relaxer and uterine cancer.

NIEHS researchers reviewed data on nearly 34,000 women in the United States between the ages of 35 and 74 who completed questionnaires on their use of multiple hair products, including hair dyes, straighteners, relaxers, or pressing products.

A 10 year follow-up on the incident rate of uterine cancer diagnosis was performed, finding participants who used straightening products at least once had the highest rate of uterine cancer diagnosis compared to any other hair products involved in the study.

The study revealed women who routinely used hair relaxer chemical products were nearly 3x more likely to have developed uterine cancer by the age of 70 when compared to women who never used chemical relaxer products.

Hair Relaxer Uterine Cancer Rates

African American women frequently using hair relaxer products had the highest rate of developing uterine cancer, making up only 7.4% of study participants, but accounted for 59.9% of those reporting use of the chemical relaxers.

2021 Study: Hair Relaxers Increase Ovarian Cancer Risks

In a 2021 study published in the medical journal Carcinogenesis, researchers uncovered a link between using hair relaxer and ovarian cancer. The study found that among a pool of 40,000 women enrolled in the NIH’s Sister Study, women who used hair relaxer four times per year were twice as likely to develop ovarian cancer when compared to those who never used the products.

Data collected from the study indicated women using hair relaxer were most at risk for developing non-serous ovarian tumors, which form on the tissue covering the ovaries.

The authors noted that these findings present a significant risk of ovarian tumors for African American women, who predominantly use hair relaxing products.

2012 Study: Hair Relaxers and Uterine Fibroid Risks

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology presented the first findings that suggested hair relaxer use increases uterine fibroid risks among black women.

Authors of the Black Women’s Health Study collected data on 23,580 premenopausal African American women from 1997 through 2009. Throughout the study’s timeframe, authors tracked details on the women’s hair relaxer use and diagnosis of uterine leiomyomata, and found that women reporting any hair relaxer use had a 1.17x risk of developing uterine fibroids when compared to never users.

Researchers found the rate of uterine fibroid diagnosis among women using relaxers increased based on their;

  • Number of annual hair relaxer treatments
  • Number of years using hair relaxer
  • Number of scalp burns from hair relaxers

“Frequency and duration of use showed evidence of a dose-response relation. Positive associations were observed between frequency of hair relaxer use and risk of uterine leiomyomata among the long-term users (i.e., duration of use ≥ 10 years).”

2019 Study: Hair Relaxers Increase Breast Cancer Risk by 30%

Another study performed by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) was published in the International Journal of Cancer (IJC) in 2019, indicating women using straightening products for their hair face a significantly increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Researchers collected data from the Sister Study, which is a long-term research project pioneered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which involves over 50,000 participants to study how the environment and genes affect women’s chances of getting breast cancer.

Over an eight year period, researchers reported that women who used hair relaxers at least every five to eight weeks, had a 30% increased risk of developing breast cancer.

African American women who reported using permanent hair dyes regularly were associated with a 60% increase of breast cancer diagnosis, compared to an 8% increased risk for Caucasian women.

Based on the currently available evidence, the lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are not currently pursuing hair relaxer breast cancer lawsuits. However, we are continuing to monitor the evolving studies and will post any updated information on our page about hair relaxers and breast cancer side effects.

Is There a Hair Relaxer Recall Over Cancer Risks?

Following a growing body of medical research linking hair relaxer chemicals to uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine fibroids, the FDA issued a proposed rule in October 2023, that would ban certain chemicals used in the cosmetic products by April 2024, which could lead to a series of hair relaxer recalls.

In the proposed rulemaking, officials stated that certain hair relaxer products have been found to contain formaldehyde (FA) and other FA-releasing chemicals such as methylene glycol. Despite the well documented cariogenic effects of formaldehyde, officials stated these chemicals are commonly integrated into hair relaxers to boost their hair straightening and smoothing performance.

Regulators are now taking the first steps towards prohibiting the sale of hair relaxers containing formaldehyde and chemicals that release formaldehyde, noting that the application of these products can result in a range of immediate and prolonged health concerns, such as allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and an increased risk of specific cancers.

An official ban by the FDA would not only place significant pressure on manufacturers to recall or reformulate their products containing formaldehyde, but would also strengthen the claims being made by thousands of individuals.

Allegations Raised In Hair Relaxer Lawsuits

Women throughout the United States are currently pursuing uterine and ovarian cancer lawsuits against L’Oréal and other cosmetic hair relaxer or perm manufacturers. Some of the common allegations raised in lawsuits for hair relaxers include:

  • Failure to adequately research the link between toxins used in relaxers and cancer;
  • Failure to warn about the increased risk of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and other side effects from hair relaxer products;
  • Providing false and misleading labeling information about the safety of hair relaxer products for women;
  • Failure to issue hair relaxer recalls to ensure consumers were aware of the cancer and health risks.

Are there any costs to hire a lawyer for my hair relaxer lawsuit case?

There are absolutely no out-of-pocket costs to review your case or hire our attorneys. Potential claims are evaluated for individuals throughout the United States, and all cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.

Through the use of contingency attorney fees, individuals have access to the experience and resources of our national law firm for their hair relaxer lawsuit settlement — regardless of their individual financial resources.

You pay nothing up front to hire our lawyers, and we only receive an attorney fee or expenses out of the money that is obtained from the manufacturers. Our law firm receives nothing unless we win your case!

What are the steps in a hair relaxer case evaluation?

1

Complete Our Case Evaluation Request Form. Providing contact information and some information about your hair relaxer case.

2

Get Contacted by Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. You will be contacted by our law firm to help determine if financial compensation may be available for you and your family.

3

You Decide If You Want to Move Forward. If our lawyers determine that we can help with your case then you decide whether to move forward and hire us to pursue compensation.

 

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