What Are Hair Straightener and Relaxer Products?

Hair relaxers are cosmetic products used to straighten curly hair and are applied to the base of the hair for a period of time. During that time, the hair “cooks,” and the protein structure of the hair alters, changing the hair from curly to straight. To keep the hair straight, users must continuously use the hair treatment every few weeks.
The chemicals in the cosmetic product straighten the curls. These chemicals attack the hair’s structure, essentially damaging it to make it straight.

Black Women are Disproportionately Affected

In the study, approximately 60% of women who self-reported using straighteners and relaxers identified as Black. The link between uterine cancer risk and straightener use is not different based on a person’s race. However, Black women may be disproportionately impacted because they are more likely to use hair straighteners and relaxers. They may also begin using these products at earlier ages than individuals of other races and ethnicities.

Many women, particularly Black women, have been using hair relaxers and straighteners for years or decades without knowing about the increased risk of developing uterine cancer.

Why Are Plaintiffs Suing Hair Straightener Manufacturers?

These lawsuits follow the release of a scientific research paper in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on October 17, 2022. This study found there may be a correlation between using hair straighteners and an increased risk of developing uterine cancer.

The study identified one of the components in hair straighteners that could be the culprit: endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The endocrine system controls the body’s homeostasis (balance) and hormone production. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals alter the interactions of hormones in the body. The October 2022 study found evidence that the endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair straightener products contributed to the risk of developing uterine cancer.

The study occurred over a period of almost 11 years with close to 34,000 participants between the ages of 35 and 74. There were 378 cases of uterine cancer reported among the participants. More uterine cancer diagnoses were reported in women who used hair straightener products than in women who never used hair relaxers. This risk of uterine cancer was higher when the frequency of hair straightener product use increased.

The study concluded that 1.64 percent of women who never used hair straightener products would be diagnosed with uterine cancer by age 70. This percentage disturbingly increased to 4.05 percent in women who frequently used hair straightener products.

How an Attorney Can Help

Navigating product liability lawsuits can be challenging, especially when new information continues to come out about the possible link between uterine cancer and hair relaxers.

Rainwater, Holt & Sexton’s defective product liability attorneys have experience holding negligent product manufacturers and retailers responsible when their products cause consumers injuries.


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Get the Compensation You Deserve

If you or your loved one have been diagnosed with uterine cancer after using chemical hair relaxers or straighteners, do not hesitate to contact Rainwater, Holt & Sexton. We provide potential clients with a free case evaluation so they can learn more about whether they have a valid legal claim for compensation in a no-obligation consultation.

Call us today (800) 434-4800 to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your rights.

We’re here to help.

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