What are the risks of Hair Relaxers?
Chemical hair relaxers or straighteners have been associated with an increased risk of developing uterine and ovarian cancer.
Chemicals in hair relaxers that straighten or relax the hair, as well as those added for fragrance, include carcinogens (causing cancer) and endocrine disruptors, which interfere with hormones.
What types of cancer are associated with Chemical Hair Relaxers?
Cancers of the reproductive system that are associated with chemical hair relaxers include:
- Uterine Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Serous ovarian cancer
- Endometroid ovarian cancer
- Mucinous ovarian cancer
- Clear cell ovarian cancer
- Undifferentiated ovarian cancer
Hair Relaxers and Uterine Cancer
A study from the National Institute of Environmental Sciences (NIES) found that women who reported using hair straightening products more than four times per year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer compared to those who did not use the products.
The study, which was part of the NIES Sister Study, tracked close to 33,500 U.S. women, aged 35-74, for 11 years.
Black women who participated in the study experienced a much higher incidence of developing uterine cancer, due to the higher usage of hair relaxers, often beginning in childhood.
Endocrine Disruptors in Hair Relaxers and Ovarian Cancer
In 2021, the medical journal Carcinogenesis published early findings involving a potential link between endocrine disruptors in hair relaxers and ovarian cancer risk.
The NIH National Institute of Environmental Health and Sciences defines endocrine disruptors (EDCs) as “natural or manmade chemicals that may mimic, block, or interfere with the body's hormones, which are part of the endocrine system.”
Early results showed that ovarian cancer risk almost doubled in those who used hair relaxers more than four times per year. Researchers noted that the risk was much more relevant for Black women who were more likely to use chemical hair relaxers.
What chemicals are associated with increased cancer risk?
Hair relaxers contain strong chemicals such as phthalates, endocrine disruptors that are typically not listed as ingredients, but rather as “fragrance” or “perfume.” The phthalate di-2-ethyl-hexyl phthalate (DEHP) found in chemical hair relaxers is known as a particularly harmful endocrine disruptor.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies formaldehyde, a component in some hair relaxers, as a human carcinogen or cancer-causing agent. The National Toxicology Program also named formaldehyde a known human carcinogen. Prolonged exposure may increase cancer risk
What is a Chemical Hair Relaxer Lawsuit?
Following the 2022 NIH study, users of hair relaxers who were diagnosed with uterine and ovarian cancer and their families began to file lawsuits against companies including L'Oréal, Strength of Nature, Soft Sheen, Dabur, and Namaste, manufacturers of the following products:
- Soft & Beautiful
- TCB Naturals
- Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Relaxer
- Dark & Lovely
How our injury lawyers can help?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer after frequent use of chemical hair relaxers, you may have legal recourse. Our injury lawyers can examine your case and help you understand your rights. Time is of the essence. Please contact us by using the online form or by calling our office at 303-376-6360 so that we can evaluate your claim.