Chemical hair straightening products have been around for decades. They’re used by millions of women each year, offering those with the curliest, frizziest, and difficult-to-flatten hair the opportunity for a sleek, straight finish.
Since hair straightener products, also known as hair relaxers, break down the hair’s natural bonds so it can be flattened, consumers who straighten their hair this way must get frequent touch-ups. As the hair grows, the new hair comes in with its natural texture, requiring treatments every few months to maintain the look and style.
Chemical hair straightening is a financially costly beautification process that comes with risks. Hair relaxers can permanently damage hair, make it dry, and cause hair loss, irritation and chemical burns on the scalp. But recent research has revealed a greater possible danger from using these straightening products that can be life-changing – a higher risk of cancer.
Uterine Cancer and Hair Straightening Products
In October 2022, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released concerning findings about the effects of hair straightening products. The study followed more than 33,000 U.S. women over the course of 11 years and found an association between hair straightening chemicals and uterine cancer risks. In fact, study participants who used chemical relaxers more than four times in the previous year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer.
While the researchers say more studies are needed to explore their findings, the results have shone a spotlight on the potentially devastating price of common beauty products. Now, women who have been using chemical straighteners and developed uterine cancer are left wondering what their options are. For many, the best way to hold companies responsible for harmful products and be compensated for their suffering and other damages is to file a personal injury lawsuit.
After the new research was released, several federal hair straightening lawsuits were filed. They allege chemical hair straighteners contributed to the development of uterine cancer, and victims are seeking compensation from the manufacturers of these products, including the beauty conglomerate L’Oréal. The plaintiffs of hair relaxer lawsuits claim the companies who make straighteners knew or should have known of the risks of consumers developing cancer and that they failed to warn them of the dangers.
Unfortunately, the latest study by NIH is not the first to link hair relaxers and other hair products to serious health conditions. Other studies have found a connection between straighteners and breast cancer, as well as ovarian cancer.
With more and more research suggesting serious dangers from using hair products containing harmful and carcinogenic chemicals, consumers diagnosed with a linked health condition should speak with a hair straightening cancer attorney to discuss their options. Companies that fail in their duty to protect and properly warn those who use relaxers of the risks may be held accountable.
Why Hair Straightener Users Should Talk to an Attorney
Many women who use chemical hair straightening products have been doing so for years. Because regular treatments are needed to maintain the style, consumers are frequently exposed to harmful chemicals that can be easily absorbed through the scalp. With the NIH study indicating a connection between hair relaxers and uterine cancer, women across the country are left wondering if their cancer diagnosis was due to the use of dangerous products. As a result, women have begun suing manufacturers of hair straightener products.
However, most people don’t know where to start and what to ask or look for when they need an attorney. Personal injury lawsuits that involve demonstrating how a product caused a medical condition are complex. Choosing the right attorney and firm to fight for your rights is difficult too.
Understanding your legal options, the process, and how a product liability lawyer can help is crucial to ensure the best chance at proper compensation and hold a negligent company accountable. If you’ve developed uterine cancer or another health condition linked to the chemicals in hair relaxers, consider the following:
- Leverage free consultations: Personal injury attorneys typically offer free consultations. Take advantage of this to have a lawyer review your case and determine whether you’re comfortable with the people who might represent you.
Medical conditions like uterine cancer can affect the victim physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and professionally. Being comfortable with your personal injury attorney is one of the most important factors when pursuing a claim. A free consultation should leave you feeling confident in the lawyer’s abilities.
- Ensure your attorney is experienced: Lawsuits involving harmful products that caused a plaintiff’s health condition will require specific experience. Lawyers have different areas of expertise (practice areas), and those you hire should have a background in handling product liability lawsuits. They should be able to share examples of similar cases, the outcomes, and how previous claims will help build a strong hair straightener lawsuit.
- Be informed of the legal process: There are many steps involved when filing a personal injury lawsuit. A good product liability attorney educates clients about the claims process and keeps them informed every step of the way. Open communication with clients and making sure they know what’s needed to win or settle a lawsuit should be a priority; no client should feel left in the dark.
- Understand legal fees: The personal injury attorney you hire for a hair straightener lawsuit should work on a contingency basis. Meaning they don’t get paid unless you do. When lawyers only get paid if you win or settle, they receive a percentage of what’s awarded, and the percentage amount should be detailed in your contract. If an attorney is asking for money upfront, go elsewhere.
- Know what’s expected of you: A dangerous product claim for illnesses linked to chemical hair straighteners requires specific information from the client. The products used, how frequently and over what period, and how they have impacted your life are important details. When you were diagnosed with uterine cancer, the treatments required and medical costs are also vital pieces of information.
These facts help to demonstrate the extensive effects of uterine cancer and will increase the chances of a successful claim. Your chemical hair straightener attorney should be clear about what they need from you, and once they get it, use what they have to fight for the outcome you deserve.
- Seek client reviews: Experienced law firms and individual lawyers will have many online reviews. But look beyond client testimonials on a firm’s website; use the power of Google to see how others feel about the legal team you’re considering to represent your interests. What past clients have to say about the firm is extremely valuable if you’re considering filing a hair relaxer lawsuit.
This list details some of the most important factors when you’ve developed an illness and think a product was responsible in any way. While a hair straightener lawsuit can’t take away your illness or suffering, it can alleviate the burden and hold the manufacturer responsible.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Cancer
If left untreated, uterine cancer can be deadly. The earlier you’re diagnosed, the better your chances at a positive outcome and the lower the risk of cancer spreading to other areas of the body.
There are two types of uterine cancer, endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma. It’s easier to treat endometrial cancer, the most common of the two, while uterine sarcoma is much rarer and far more aggressive.
For many women diagnosed with uterine cancer, the best option is to surgically remove the uterus. In some cases, surgery is all that’s needed, but some require chemotherapy and radiation as well.
Uterine cancer usually develops later in life, but there’s been a steady increase in cases in younger women in recent years. While more research is needed, the increased risk among women who use chemical hair straighteners reinforces the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms of uterine cancer, especially if you use these products. These include abdominal pain, pelvis pressure, irregular and/or abnormal bleeding, and difficulty using the bathroom.
Contact an Attorney
If you experience any signs of uterine cancer, contact your doctor immediately. And if you’re diagnosed with uterine cancer and use or previously used chemical hair straightening products, contact the attorneys at D’Arcy Johnson & Day.
Medical conditions are deeply personal and have a significant emotional toll on victims and their families. Our compassionate attorneys have helped countless clients in similar situations receive fair compensation for the damaging effects of harmful products. Contact us online or at 1-866-327-2952 for a free consultation.
From sexual abuse matters to personal injury and workers compensation, Jessica brings a wealth of experience to her practice at D’Arcy Johnson Day. Her fluency in both English and Spanish enables her to help so many members of the community, as she focuses on accident and personal injury cases, work injuries, medical malpractice, immigration, criminal law, and municipal court proceedings among other areas of practice.
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