Thousands of Black women have filed lawsuits claiming that the hair relaxer products they’ve been using gave them uterine cancer.
A new report has found that women have filed over 7,000 lawsuits since a U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) report in October 2022 found an association between frequent use of hair straightening chemicals and uterine cancer. According to the NIH, women who used hair relaxers more than four times in the previous year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer than those who didn’t.
NIH also noted that uterine cancer is the most common form of female reproductive system cancer in America, and its rates are rising significantly among Black women.
The lead author of the NIH report said that hair straighteners can have ingredients such as phthalates, parabens, cyclosiloxanes and metals, which could interfere with the body’s hormones and can raise cancer risk. The products can also release formaldehyde when heated; the substance is a known carcinogen.
Filing a lawsuit for potentially cancer-causing hair relaxers
If you’ve also contracted cancer and suspect that your use of hair relaxers may have caused it, you might also consider filing a lawsuit of your own. But for a court to find the product manufacturer liable, you’ll have to prove the following:
- That the product’s cancer-causing chemicals were the likely culprit for your cancer versus the genes you were born with.
- The product can cause cancer through regular use.
- The product is the main chemical that caused the cancer and not another carcinogen.
Because current research only hints at a connection – not a direct causal link – between hair relaxers and cancer, it may be challenging to build a strong case.
However, no matter how your cancer is caused, it’s essential to seek medical treatment immediately. Establishing that you had to receive medical treatment is a key part of any product liability lawsuit since a medical professional can potentially identify how your cancer may have developed.