Can I File a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit if I Have Uterine Cancer?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Personal Injury Published on May 18, 2023 and updated on June 5, 2023.

woman in hairdresser's chairStudies have shown there is a link between chemical hair relaxer products and a higher risk of uterine cancer. This means millions of African American women who use these products regularly could be at risk for developing this illness.

If you have uterine cancer and you used a hair relaxer for years, you may be able to file a hair relaxer lawsuit. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are available to discuss your potential options.

An initial consultation is free and there is no legal obligation. You may be eligible to recover compensation to cover medical treatment, which may include a hysterectomy and other damages. There are no upfront fees for hair relaxer claims.

Contact us today to schedule your free legal consultation: 410-297-0271.

Popular Hair Relaxers Named in Lawsuits

Several popular brands of chemical hair relaxers have been named in lawsuits connecting these products to serious health issues, including:

  • L’Oreal
  • Just For Me
  • Softsheen-Carson (Optimum Relaxer)
  • Motions Hair
  • ORS Hair Care (Namaste Laboratories, LLC)
  • African Pride (Godrej Group)
  • Dark & Lovely
  • Cantu Beauty

If you have used any of these products regularly over a period of years, you may have a higher risk for developing life-threatening medical problems.

Hair Relaxer Increases the Risk of Uterine Cancer

In 2022, a 10-year study of a possible connection between cancer and hair relaxers was released in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the prevalence of cancer in women who routinely used hair relaxers compared to women who never did.

Researchers discovered the women who did use these products regularly were at least two times more likely to develop uterine cancer. Women who used hair relaxers more than four times in a year had a 150 percent higher risk of developing cancer.

The risk of cancer increases the longer you use a hair relaxer. In other words, the women who use these products more frequently likely have the highest risk of being diagnosed with uterine cancer.

This is the first study to provide evidence linking chemical hair relaxer use to uterine cancer.

How Hair Relaxers Could Cause Cancer

Hair relaxers contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals (also called phthalates) that could enter the body through burns, sores or cuts on the scalp.

These chemicals include ammonium thioglycolate, sodium hydroxide and Di-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP). DEHP is not found in the environment and is a probable human carcinogen. It could cause cancer by disrupting the production, storage and secretion of hormones. These disruptions could cause the formation of uterine fibroids, which is often a precursor to the formation of cancerous tumors. A study from 2012 found a higher risk for fibroids among women who used hair relaxer products.

The chemicals in hair relaxers could also cause developmental abnormalities in children and infertility and other reproductive issues.

What Are the Early Signs of Uterine Cancer?

There are various symptoms that might indicate uterine cancer, and if you experience any of these symptoms you should see a doctor right away:

  • Vaginal bleeding in between periods
  • Cramping in the pelvis
  • Clear, white vaginal discharge if you are past menopause
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Heavy or frequent vaginal bleeding if you are over 40 years old
  • Spotting after menopause

The prognosis for uterine cancer is often good if it is caught early. That is why it is so important to watch for symptoms if you regularly use a hair relaxer.

Who Can File a Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit?

If you have questions about your legal options after being diagnosed with uterine cancer, The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl is available to help you. Each claim needs to be evaluated on its own to determine if there is a valid case.

Generally, if you were a regular user of a hair straightener or hair relaxer and diagnosed with uterine cancer, you might have a case. We will need to review many factors to determine the viability of your claim. This could include:

  • How frequently you used a hair straightener
  • Which product(s) you used
  • The symptoms you have experienced
  • How your symptoms have affected your life
  • And more

These cases are not limited to users of at-home products. If you went to a salon for hair straightening you may also have a case.

Contact us to learn more: 410-297-0271.

What is the Value of a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit?

So far, there have not been any settlements or verdicts in hair relaxer lawsuits. That makes it difficult to determine what these claims may be worth.

Generally, the value of any injury claim is going to depend on numerous factors that are specific to the individual filing the lawsuit. For example, some women who are diagnosed with uterine cancer get hysterectomies to remove all the cancerous tissue. If you have a valid case, you could seek compensation for the cost of the procedure and other treatment you may need afterward to deal with complications.

Complications that could result from a hysterectomy include:

  • Damage to internal organs
  • Blood clots
  • Excessive bleeding, which may require a transfusion
  • Infection
  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia

You may need to stay in the hospital longer so doctors can treat complications and monitor your recovery. This is also something that could be included in a claim for compensation.

Other side effects of a hysterectomy could include lower libido or early onset of menopause. It is also important to note that a hysterectomy takes away a woman’s ability to bear children. This can result in various non-economic damages that may be included in a claim for compensation (lost enjoyment of life, lost companionship, emotional suffering, etc.).

Cancer could also affect a person’s ability to go to work, either in the short term or over a prolonged period. If this happens, your lawyer may be able to include lost wages or lost earning capacity in your claim for compensation.

If you lost a loved one to uterine cancer, you may be able to seek wrongful death damages, such as funeral expenses, burial costs and pain and suffering caused by your loss.

Evidence for a Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit

Recovering full compensation for a defective product lawsuit is a complex task. You will need extensive evidence to validate these claims, along with detailed documentation of your illness and damages. You also need strong evidence of the link between your illness and the product in question.

Some of the evidence that may be needed includes:

  • Documentation of your cancer diagnosis
  • Pictures proving you used hair relaxer
  • Receipts showing you purchased hair relaxer products
  • Receipts and bills for treatment of cancer
  • Testimony from friends or family members about your use of hair relaxers, including testimony from stylists who applied these products
  • And more

Your lawyer can work with you to gather the evidence needed to prove your case. However, evidence can get lost if you do not act quickly. That is why it is so important to contact a qualified lawyer right away.

How Long Do I Have to File My Case?

Another reason to call a lawyer as soon as possible is that there is limited time to file a case. Once the statute of limitations runs out, you lose the right to file a lawsuit over your hair relaxer injuries. Cancer treatment is expensive, and if your illness was caused by a dangerous product, you should not be forced to bear these costs on your own. The manufacturer should be held accountable.

Sometimes injured victims think time has run out on their ability to file a lawsuit, but they are wrong. You should not assume time has run out without first talking to an experienced lawyer.

The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl is currently investigating hair relaxer lawsuits. Contact us to learn more about whether you may be able to file a case.

Request your FREE case review: 410-297-0271.

Background on Hair Relaxer Products

Hair relaxer products, also called hair straighteners, first came on the market more than 100 years ago. These products are mostly used by African American women to help make their hair lay flat, which helps make it easier to manage.

While women can go to a salon or cosmetologist to relax their hair, they can also buy hair relaxer kits at grocery stores, beauty supply stores and drug stores. These products work by altering the protein structure in the hair. The chemical is applied to the base of the hair shaft and left there for a specified period to “cook”. It takes an average of four to eight weeks from the application of the product for the hair to start to grow away from the scalp.

What You Need to Know About the Hair Relaxer Class Action

The first hair relaxer lawsuit was filed in October 2022, not long after a 10-year study on the link between uterine cancer and hair relaxers was published.

The lawsuit is against L’Oreal and was filed by a woman who used hair relaxer products since she was 10 years of age. She used these products every six to eight weeks from that time and until she was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2018 at the age of 28.

Since then, dozens of similar lawsuits have been filed. In November of 2022, lawyers representing a group of plaintiffs filed a motion with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). The motion sought to consolidate hair relaxer lawsuits into an MDL, and it was successful. As of May 16, 2023, there are 124 lawsuits in the MDL, which has been assigned to the Northern District of Illinois.

An MDL consolidates similar cases to one federal court. This is done to conserve resources, including resources for discovery. An MDL also helps to make the legal process more efficient. Eventually, some of the cases in the MDL are selected as bellwether trials. These cases are tried, and the resolution of these cases gives both sides a better idea about how the rest of the cases are likely to turn out. This often encourages both sides to reach a settlement that will apply to the rest of the cases in the MDL.

On May 23, 2023, a master complaint was submitted in federal court. The document contains the common allegations made in the individual lawsuits.

If you developed uterine cancer after regular use of hair relaxer products, you may be able to join the MDL. However, you need to contact a qualified lawyer to determine if you have a valid case.

Call Us to Learn More About a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

When product designers and manufacturers put dangerous products in the marketplace and customers suffer injuries, designers and manufacturers can be held liable for damages.

These claims are complicated and require strong evidence to obtain a favorable result. That is why you need an experienced lawyer who knows how to build a strong case.

If you are unsure if you have a case of developing uterine cancer from using a chemical hair relaxer, contact us to set up a free legal consultation. There are no upfront fees for these cases.

Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. Call to learn more: 410-297-0271.