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Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

Relaxers are linked to several health conditions, most notably uterine cancer. Our law firm is pursuing lawsuits against L’Oréal, the company responsible for Dark & Lovely. Our Relaxer Lawsuit Lawyers are pursuing these claims in all 50 states. 

Millions of women with kinky-curly hair share similar stories about the first time they got a hair relaxer. Along with their stories of the first time they got a relaxer, many have shared stories about health issues in line with what studies show may have been caused by relaxers. As it stands, thousands of women will potentially file lawsuits against hair relaxer manufacturers after receiving a uterine cancer diagnosis. 

These women and the families who love them have the potential to receive significant settlements. 

Research Links Hair Relaxers to Cancer

In October 2022, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published its findings about hazardous chemicals in relaxers. These hazardous chemicals, the journal found, were endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic. In addition to supporting previous studies on the hair product’s association with breast and ovarian cancer, this particular study looked at associations between relaxers and uterine cancer. 

The results of this study have a serious impact, particularly on Black women across the African diaspora, to whom the products are heavily marketed. Not only does the study affirm many beliefs held in the Black community about the dangers of relaxers, but it also provides a path to compensation.

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What is a Chemical Relaxer?

A chemical relaxer is a hair product used by people with tight curls to straighten their hair permanently. Colloquially in African-American populations, relaxers are called perms. They can be performed by a licensed cosmetologist, in a barbershop, or at home with a home kit. As new growth comes in, retreating the hair every 6-8 weeks is required to maintain a consistent appearance. 

A relaxer is applied directly to a person’s hair and then rinsed off after a certain amount of time has passed. 

There are several different types of hair relaxers, with the most popular for home use being no-lye relaxers. Other types of relaxers include the following: 

  • Thio relaxers
  • Alkaline and lye relaxers
  • Commercial sale (pulled from shelves in the 1990s after a class action lawsuit)
  • Down perm (a product used in Asia to curtail hair that sticks out)

The above types of relaxers are sold under several different brands with one of the most popular and recognizable being Dark & Lovely. The hair relaxer lawsuits may eventually include all brands sold on shelves. 

Dark & Lovely Lawsuits

Black American women are 60% of hair relaxer customers. As such, these products typically feature images of Black women or girls on the boxes. Relaxers have fallen out of favor among many consumers over health concerns about the product’s ingredients. Research continues to accelerate the decline of relaxers as they pose an increased risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer.

Chemical hair relaxer lawsuits at this time concern manufacturer L’Oréal, particularly their Dark & Lovely products.

What kind of Cancer does the Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Cover?

Currently, the research best supports a link between uterine cancer and hair relaxers. These lawsuits are in the very early stages and still have the potential to include other forms of cancer. If you believe your or your loved one’s hair relaxer caused uterine cancer, our Hair Relaxer Lawsuit attorneys can help. 

Are Hair Relaxers Safe?

Relaxers are harmful. In October 2022, the results of a study on the link between hair relaxers and cancer published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women who use relaxers are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with uterine cancer than others. The 10-year study examined the incidence rate of cancer among women who regularly use relaxers vs women who never used relaxers. 

Black women use hair relaxers at a much higher percentage than other races. In fact, the demographic is often introduced to relaxers at a much earlier age than other races or ethnicities. Many were children in their single digits. Hair relaxers were supposed to make life easier by making hair easier to manage. Still, little did many in the African diaspora know the true extent of damage relaxers were doing to not only their hair but their bodies. 

Chemicals in Relaxers Can Cause Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer, or endometrial cancer, is on the rise. So much so that experts expect the disease to become the third most common cancer among women by 2040. Additionally, the disease is likely to become the fourth leading cause of women’s cancer deaths.  There is strong scientific evidence driving our attorneys’ involvement in uterine cancer relaxer lawsuits.

Cancer of the uterus is the fourth most common type of cancer in women. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2022, there are: 

  • About 65,950 new uterine cancer cases will be diagnosed.
  • About 12,550 women will die from the disease.

The above cases include both endometrial and uterine sarcoma cancer. 

Black women uterine cancer prognosis

Black women use hair straightening products more than any other demographic. Alarmingly, as uterine cancer rates and death rise in the U.S., those most likely to die from the disease are non-Hispanic Black women. Approximately 3.1% of all women will be diagnosed with uterine cancer in their lifetime. Black women, however, are significantly more likely than other racial groups to have advanced stages of uterine cancer when diagnosed. Further, they tend to have more aggressive tumor types, such as the following: 

  • Clear cell
  • Serous
  • High-grade endometrioid 
  • Malignant mixed Mullerian tumors
  • Bleeding after menopause

In addition, research indicates that a cancer diagnosis in Black women has a greater mortality rate. The group is also less likely to receive the proper medical care for the disease than white women. This lack of quality healthcare greatly contributes to the racial disparities in mortality. 

What are the Symptoms of Uterine Cancer?

There is no normal screening for uterine cancer. In fact, uterine cancer is only diagnosed when there are symptoms. If you get hair relaxers, you must pay attention to your body. While uterine cancer symptoms can vary from person to person, these symptoms are typical: 

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge
  • Abnormal results from a pap test
  • Pain in the pelvic area

Vaginal bleeding during or after menopause is often a sign of a problem. 

Why does the Relaxer Lawsuit Feel Personal to Women of Color?

Many of the women diagnosed with hair relaxer-linked uterine cancer are the mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins and good friends of Black women. Historically, Black women have been the demographic targeted by major corporations shilling harmful products with little care for their overall health. The history of afro-texture hair in America has been fraught with grief, frustration, and pride. Afro hair is deemed as unprofessional, distracting, dirty, or unkempt. Some demographics may even view natural or protective hairstyles as flat-out political. These biases about afro hair make it difficult to move in a society built on exclusion. The over-policing of afro hair is not isolated to headlines. For many in the diaspora, it is a daily occurrence. Natural hairstyles and protective hairstyles have gotten African American men, women and children fired from their jobs, denied jobs, punished in school and prohibited from graduating.

These types of incidents are one of the problematic reasons Black women and Afro-Latinas, particularly in corporate settings, continue to use hair relaxers. 

A Brief History of Afro Haircare Products

It’s difficult to tell any story about African Americans that doesn’t begin with slavery. But, the truth is, slavery may be the root of the Black diaspora’s aspiration toward achieving hair smoother, softer, lighter and longer. This is because, during the slave trade, the term “good hair” was first established. The characteristics of “good hair” include being less curly and more manageable. In other words, good hair means less African. This concept created a damaging narrative that, to the present day, feeds into racial biases and prejudices about afro-texture hair. 

The Hot Comb

Hair relaxer lawyers
Electric hot comb and heater from the 1920s. Image source: nmaahc.si.edu

In 1872, the ‘hot comb’ was invented. The hot comb gave women with afro hair access to so-called “good hair.” This access allowed them to meet eurocentric beauty standards. Additionally, pressed hair elevated a Black woman’s personal, social and economic status. 

Madam CJ Walker

Madam CJ Walker, a Black woman, was the first American woman to become a self-made millionaire. She developed a line of hair care products after her hair started falling out.

She started off working for Turnbo Malone, a pioneer of the hair product Walker would go on to receive fame and fortune. According to her biography, Madam CJ Walker came up with the formula for her own hair grower through a dream. She opened a factory and hair school name Leila College. Over time, her beauty empire grew rapidly. Walker is credited with revolutionizing the press and curl style in 1910. 

The Relaxer 

While Walker was busy growing a Black hair care empire, Garret A. Morgan was busy creating the first chemical relaxer in 1909. Relaxers were an instant hit in the African American community. 

Today, while products like Dark & Lovely and Just for Me feature photos of beautiful Black women and girls, the companies behind the hair products are often run by white-owned corporations. 

Why is the history of Black hair straightening methods important?

Knowing why people with afro-textured hair continue to use carcinogenic hair products underscores why these companies must warn about the dangers and create a product that does not damage a person’s overall health. Whispers within the community about the negative health effects of chemical relaxers accelerated the natural hair movement causing a steep decline in relaxer use. When consumers are empowered with knowledge about the good and the bad, their choices will look different. 

For many other groups, assimilation into American culture eases after a generation or two. However, for people with darker complexions, this is impossible. To overcome prejudice and racial bias, hair is one of the few ways for those in the African diaspora to assimilate into a society that has long rejected their natural features. 

Walker and Morgan’s wealth speaks to the buying power Black people have always held in the beauty industry.

How much will a Hair Relaxer Lawyer Cost?

Cost is not a burden for pursuing legal action against uncaring hair relaxer manufacturers. With a Carlson Law Firm hair relaxer lawyer, you will not pay any upfront fees to pursue a claim against chemical relaxer manufacturers. Our attorneys work on contingency and will take fees after we’ve successfully resolved your case through settlement or court. 

How much is a relaxer cancer claim worth?

A plaintiff named Jenny Mitchell filed the first hair relaxer lawsuit in October 2022. As such, hair relaxer lawsuits are in the very early stages of litigation. Several factors can potentially affect the outcome of your claim. Be wary of settlement amounts or figures given online that some law firms are quoting to entice you. During a free consultation, our hair relaxer lawsuit team will be able to discuss in depth your injuries and how they may affect the outcome of your case. 

How can I prove I used a hair relaxer?

If this question is stopping you from contacting our team, don’t let it. We have a team of investigators who know the documentation you need to prove your claim. Examples of items our team may collect to prove hair relaxer use include the following: 

  • Medical records
  • Receipts from stores or salons 
  • Credit card records
  • Other purchase records

When you contact our Hair Relaxer Lawyers, our team will immediately begin building your case. Consultations are free.

What company is at the center of Uterine Cancer Relaxer Lawsuits?

Currently, our law firm is investigating Dark & Lovely manufacturer L’Oréal. However, there is potential for this lawsuit to expand and include dozens of other hair relaxer manufacturers. 

Mitchell v. L’Oréal: The First Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit

Like a lot of Black women, Jenny Mitchell is a Missouri resident who used chemical relaxers since she was 10. She touched up her hair every 6-8 weeks until 2018, when at just 28 years old, Mitchell was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Mitchell underwent a full hysterectomy and is still under medical supervision. Further, she had no family history of cancer. 

As the first hair relaxer lawsuit, Mitchell v. L’Oréal, was filed in federal court in Chicago. Our product liability attorneys expect thousands of women to follow suit. These lawsuits allege that the manufacturers knew, or should have known, about the uterine cancer risks caused by the chemicals in their hair products. 

Why are Relaxers Still on the Market if they Cause Cancer?

Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve cosmetic products and ingredients before they go to market. As such, many companies release harmful products to American consumers with little testing about their safety. The FDA cannot force a company to recall its product or pull it from the shelves. In most instances, cosmetic recalls or market removals are voluntary. But there are still laws that regulate and apply to cosmetics placed into the market.

Laws that Apply to Hair Relaxers

One of the most important laws that regulate cosmetics is the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). The FDCA prohibits marketing “adulterated” or “misbranded” cosmetics. According to the FDCA, adulterated products meet the following: 

  • It contains any poisonous or deleterious substance causing injury to the product user. 
  • Its container is composed, in whole or in part, of any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render the contents injurious to health.

In other words, while hair relaxer companies don’t have to submit their products for approval, they do have to make sure their products are safe. Further, the FDCA prohibits companies from “misbranding” by giving false or misleading information about their product. Hair relaxer companies are knowingly putting carcinogenic ingredients into their products and selling them to consumers. 

We’re Ready to Help

There are enough scientific studies that support that relaxers cause changes to hormones. These mutations occur in a significant percentage of women who relax their hair. There is no warning from manufacturers and they don’t seem interested in changing their formulas. 

The product liability attorneys at The Carlson Law Firm are ready to stand up and fight for Black women, Afro-Latinas and other groups harmed by L’Oréal and other potential companies for their lack of concern about the community’s health. Schedule a free consultation with a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Lawyer at 800-359-5690.

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