A lawsuit has been filed by KeAira G., a woman from Georgia who was diagnosed with uterine fibroids and endometriosis after using hair relaxers.
She claims that she was first exposed to toxic chemicals in hair relaxers in 1994, when she was just 6 years old, and continued to use the products for the next 18 years.
She was diagnosed with uterine fibroids in 2011, when she was only 22 years old — an abnormally young age to develop fibroids, which typically affect women in their 40s and older.
According to the lawsuit, her fibroids caused “extremely heavy bleeding and excruciating pain during her periods,” which ultimately led her to undergo surgery to remove the fibroids.
While doctors were surgically removing her fibroids, they also found evidence of endometriosis, a condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus. In 2019, her fibroids returned, along with pain and bleeding. She was also diagnosed with a cyst on her left ovary.
Her lawsuit blames the fibroids and endometriosis on endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair relaxers, such as parabens and phthalates, which mimic estrogen.
In recent years, a growing number of studies have found that these endocrine-disrupting chemicals can increase the risk of hormone-related health problems that affect women — including cancer.
For example, a study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in October 2022 found a doubled risk of uterine cancer for women who used hair relaxers at least every 4 months.
According to Shirley McDonald of the Hair and Scalp Clinic, the study shows that chemicals may also increase the risk of fibroids:
“We now know that many hair products contain chemicals that are considered carcinogenic and/or hormone disrupters, leading to increased risk of medical issues such as fibroids.”
Fibroids are usually non-cancerous growths on the uterus (also called benign tumors), but they can sometimes contain cancerous cells.
Lawsuits have been filed by women who underwent a hysterectomy using a device called a morcellator due to painful fibroids, but later discovered that their fibroid was actually uterine cancer.
The defendants include several hair relaxer manufacturers, including L’Oreal, Strength of Nature Global LLC, Soft Sheen / Carson, and Namaste Laboratories Inc.
The Hair Relaxer Lawsuit was filed on October 26, 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia (Savannah Division) — Case Number 4:22-cv-00256.