Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of hair relaxing products. Plaintiffs claim that the products cause cancer. The lawsuits allege that the manufacturers of hair relaxing products knew or should have known that the chemicals in their products could increase the risk of cancer.
What are hair relaxing products?
Hair relaxers, or hair straighteners, are creams that make curly hair easier to straighten. Chemicals in the cream attack the protein structure of hair causing it to “relax” or straighten the curls.
Why are the straightening products harmful?
The products contain chemicals called EDCs and phthalates which are known to damage DNA.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who used hair relaxing products had an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer and uterine cancer. The study found that women who used the products at least once a week had a 43% increased risk of these cancers. The study suggests further research to better understand the link between hair relaxers and cancer.
Another study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that women who used hair relaxing products developed cancer at a rate of 4% by the age of 70. Women who did not use hair relaxing products developed cancer at a rate of 1.6% by the same age.
Other research has linked hair relaxers to an increased risk of other types of cancer including breast cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and endometrial cancer. They have also been found to disrupt hormone function. This can lead to infertility.
Who makes the hair straightening products?
Defendants being named in lawsuits include:
- Soft Sheen/Carson (including products like Dark & Lovely and Optimum)
- Dabur International
- Namaste (Olive Oil Girls)
- Strength of Nature Global (including products like Just for Me, Soft & Beautiful, and Motions)
- Godrej Consumer Products
- PDC Brands
- Parfums de Coeur
What is the status of the litigation?
Numerous lawsuits have been filed around the country against the manufacturers listed above. Plaintiffs have requested the cases be consolidated in a Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”). This will centralize the cases before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings. We expect this litigation to be large with many more lawsuits being filed.