A woman from Missouri has filed a lawsuit blaming L’Oreal and other beauty product companies for selling chemical hair straightening products that she believes caused her to develop uterine cancer.
Hair straighteners, or hair relaxers, are chemical products that are applied to curly hair to break down proteins so that the hair can be ironed smooth and straight with the use of an extremely hot flat iron.
The lawsuit was filed by Jenny M., a woman who claims that her uterine cancer “was directly and proximately caused by her regular and prolonged exposure to phthalates and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in defendants’ hair care products,” the lawsuit claims.
She was diagnosed with uterine cancer when she was just 28 years old and underwent a hysterectomy in September 2018. She told CNN, “My dreams of becoming a mother were gone.”
According to the lawsuit, she first used chemical hair relaxers when she was just 10 years old. She continued to use the products for the next 22 years, until March 2022.
It was only recently that she learned about studies linking the routine use of chemical hair straighteners with an increased risk of uterine cancer.
In October 2022, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute warned that women who use chemical hair straighteners more than 4 times per year could be twice as likely to develop uterine cancer compared to women who do not use hair treatments.
The researchers warned that hazardous chemicals with hormone-disrupting side effects could potentially get into a woman’s body through burns and abrasions during the hair-straightening process.
The defendants include L’Oreal, Strength Of Nature Global LLC, Soft Sheen / Carson Inc., Dabur International, and Namaste Laboratories.
The lawsuit was filed on October 21, 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois — Case Number 1:22-cv-05815.