As consumers, we try to keep safety in mind whenever buying a product. However, as a recent study indicates, more often than not, consumers rely on blind trust that manufacturers are using safe ingredients in what they sell. Unfortunately, the manufacturers don’t always protect the consumer from the dangers within their products.
The study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows evidence that women who use hair straighteners or hair relaxers have an increased risk of developing uterine cancer due to the chemicals in the products. Women who used hair straighteners more than four times a year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer than those who did not use them at all.
How Chemicals Can Lead to Uterine Cancer
Chemical hair straightening products work by permanently altering the structure of a strand of hair. Chemical compounds cause a permanent change in the hair, eliminating any texture, and leaving a smooth, chemically treated hair strand.
Although the researchers did not name specific brands of hair straighteners used in the research, they did identify certain chemicals found in the products. The chemicals included formaldehyde, a widely recognized human carcinogen known to cause leukemia, Bisphenol A (BPA) and parabens, which can be easily absorbed into a person’s scalp, particularly if there are any open cuts or wounds.
The medical community also recognizes BPAs and parabens as “endocrine disruptors,” which can wreak havoc on a woman’s hormonal balance. Endocrine disruptors can cause dangerous levels of estrogen or an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone, which is considered a significant risk factor in developing some forms of uterine cancer.
For the uterine cancer study, the team of scientists relied on data from the Sister Study, a project compiled over ten years and involving more than 30,000 women across the country.
Previous research with the Sister Study already linked hair straighteners and other hair products to a higher incidence of cancers known to be caused by endocrine disruptors, including hormone-driven breast cancer and hormone-driven ovarian cancer. Now, researchers can say they have determined an association between chemical products and uterine cancer.
The researchers themselves are the first to stress that more work needs to be done, but the study results are alarming for many women who have been using chemical hair straightening products for years.
Alexandra White, head of the environment and cancer epidemiology group of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the lead author of the study, cautioned that the study did not prove that hair straightening products caused uterine cancer.
“This study is the first to show a possible link between frequent use of hair straightening products and uterine cancer,” she said.
However, women across the country, many of whom are currently undergoing cancer treatment, are already taking legal action against manufacturers.
Why Are Hair Straightening Cancer Lawsuits Being Filed?
Once women learned about the link between chemical hair straighteners and uterine cancer, lawsuits followed. Women who have uterine cancer allege that the use of certain chemical hair straightening products contributed to their diagnosis and that the manufacturers failed to warn consumers about the possible hazards to their health.
Women have filed lawsuits seeking damages to compensate for pain and suffering and economic hardship while accusing product makers of withholding important, life-changing safety information concerning the chemicals.
Along with the individual lawsuits, on Nov. 15, several plaintiffs’ law firms filed a motion to consolidate the cases in Illinois federal court.
L’Oreal is one of the manufacturers named in multiple lawsuits. In a statement posted by NBC News, L’Oréal stressed the charges against them have no legal merit, and the company is “confident” in the safety of their products. “Our products are subject to a rigorous scientific evaluation of their safety by experts who also ensure that we follow strictly all regulations in every market in which we operate,” the statement said.
If you or someone you know has used chemical hair straightening products and has been diagnosed with uterine cancer, a personal injury attorney with experience in product liability lawsuits can help determine your best legal options. The costs associated with a debilitating illness like uterine cancer can be devastating, and it is important someone with expertise can help you receive the compensation for medical expenses, loss of income and employment, and other damages you deserve. Contact Jessica Ramirez, at D’Arcy Johnson Day, a premier litigation law firm, at 866-327-2952 or visit us online for a free legal 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.