What Is the Hair Straightener Mass Tort Incidence?
According to recent NIH research, women who reported frequent usage of hair straighteners, up to four or more times a year, were twice as prone to developing uterine cancer than those who did not use the products.
The results show that black women are disproportionately affected by these products in the United States, because they are the major consumers of hair relaxers and chemical straighteners. They also have the highest death rates from uterine cancer and breast cancer compared to women of other ethnicities.
The first chemical hair straightener lawsuit in Missouri came soon after the NIH published its findings in 2022. It was filed by Jennifer Mitchell, who had a hysterectomy after discovering she had uterine cancer in 2018.
According to her suit, she used chemical hair straighteners for over 20 years. She instituted a mass tort lawsuit against a few offending companies, including L’Oreal.
Because there is evidence that these products have harmed numerous people, the damage qualifies as a mass tort, and Ms. Mitchell’s suit might be the first of many mass tort suits on the issue.
In a mass tort suit, more affected parties can join the case as injured parties or plaintiffs, even if one person originally started it. You can talk to your personal injury lawyer about the possibility of suing the companies whose products you believe contributed to your developing uterine cancer or joining Ms. Mitchell’s lawsuit if you have suffered from uterine or breast cancer from using these hair products.
Which Cancer-Causing Chemicals Are Used in Hair Straightening Products?
According to the NIH study, chemicals like bisphenol A, parabens, fragrances, formaldehyde, phthalates, and metals, have been found in chemical hair straightening products. These chemicals are known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), meaning they interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system.
In humans, the endocrine system regulates many bodily functions and overall health through the secretion of hormones. When the system is disrupted or interfered with, it can produce excess or little of the hormones it is supposed to, which can mess up bodily functions.
Uterine cancer usually develops due to high estrogen levels in the body compared to progesterone. A healthy endocrine system manages to balance the two hormones, but with the introduction of any EDC into the body, they may go out of balance. The result is uterine cancer and other potential health issues, including breast cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
Other factors can cause these illnesses, such as genetics, which might make it difficult to establish a link between your cancer and your hair straighteners. But with the results of the NIH study, the job is half done, and the simple presence of carcinogenic chemicals in your hair straightening products could be potential grounds for compensation from the manufacturer.
Other Injuries Caused By Hair Straightener Products
Besides uterine cancer, chemical hair straighteners can lead to many other physical injuries, including burns to the scalp. The NIH research reveals that these burns may facilitate the absorption of harmful chemicals into the body, eventually leading to uterine cancer.
Who Can Bring a Lawsuit Against a Hair Straightener Company
To be eligible to file a chemical hair straightener lawsuit and get compensation, you may need to show that you’re a frequent user of chemical hair straightening products, which means you use the products at least four times each year. You’ll also need to show that you developed hormone-related cancer like breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer.
It would help if you’re an ongoing user of the offending product(s) or stopped using them recently. Otherwise, your case might be affected by the statute of limitations, which could affect your chances in court.
So, it is important that you act quickly and take steps as soon as you realize the harmful effects of your chemical hair straighteners on your body. You can contact an attorney for help and guidance if you’re unsure how to proceed.