Chemical Hair Relaxer and Hair Straightener Cancer Risk

study links hair straighteners to cancer riskA recent study found that women who use chemical hair relaxers may have a higher risk of developing uterine cancer. The women using hair straightening products were nearly twice as likely to develop uterine cancer than those who did not according to the study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Those using chemical straightener frequently (defined as more than 4 times in the previous year) were 2 ½ times more likely to develop uterine cancer, the most common cancer for the female reproductive system.

Moreover, approximately 60% of the women in the recent study identified as Black. “Because Black women use hair straightening or relaxer products more frequently and tend to initiate use at earlier ages than other races and ethnicities, these findings may be even more relevant for them,” according to one of the authors of the study.

What are Hair Relaxers?

Chemical hair straighteners or relaxers are, generally, lotions or creams that when applied to natural hair to give it a straight appearance by “relaxing” the curls. It is believed that relaxers are used by more than two-thirds of Black women to straighten their hair to make it easier to style or to increase the length.

The relaxing products at issue include both those intended for home use and salon use and are made by major cosmetics companies like L’Oréal, Revlon, Strength of Nature, SoftSheen Carson, and Namaste Laboratories. They are known by names such as:

  • Dark and Lovely;
  • Optimum Care;
  • Motions;
  • Creme of Nature;
  • Soft & Beautiful;
  • Just for Me; and,
  • ORS Olive Oil Hair Relaxer.

What Are the Dangers of Hair Straighteners and Relaxers?

It is believed that some of the ingredients frequently found in hair relaxing products – parabens, bisphenol A, metals, and formaldehyde – could contribute to the increased risk of uterine cancer.

The injuries Lopez McHugh is investigating as associated with use of chemical hair relaxers, at this time, include:

  • Uterine Cancer;
  • Endometrial Cancer (the most common type of uterine cancer);
  • Ovarian Cancer; and,
  • Uterine Fibroids (requiring surgical intervention).

Do I have a case?

Women diagnosed with cancer and other injuries related to use of hair relaxing products have begun filing lawsuits against the manufacturers and other responsible parties across the United States. If you have been diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer and used chemical hair relaxer and/or straighteners, contact Lopez McHugh to discuss a possible lawsuit.