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Do Hair Relaxers Cause Cancer?

Roberts Wilson, P.A. | March 8, 2023

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests hair relaxers may cause cancer after prolonged use. A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has found an increased risk of uterine cancer in individuals who frequently use hair straightening chemicals or relaxers. This adds to previous research linking hair dye and hair straightening chemicals to an increased risk of breast cancer, with a 60% increase in risk found in women who use these products.

The experienced attorneys at Roberts Wilson, P.A. are currently investigating cases related to the use of chemical hair straighteners. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with conditions such as uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, uterine fibroids, or endometriosis and have used hair relaxers, please reach out to our office for a free case evaluation.

What Is the Connection Between Hair Straighteners and Cancer?

When researching the potential link between hair straighteners and cancer, it is important to consider the presence of endocrine disruptors. Many hair relaxers contain toxic materials such as lye, formaldehyde, and phthalates like DEHP which have been used in these products for years. These harmful chemicals have been known to disrupt the endocrine system, by mimicking or interfering with the body’s hormones, and have been linked to a range of health issues including developmental, neurological, reproductive, and immune problems.

Endocrine disruptors, also known as endocrine-disrupting compounds, are chemicals that can disrupt the endocrine system. They affect the way hormones are eliminated, metabolized, transported, secreted, and produced in the body, leading to issues such as homeostasis and fertility disorders. These chemicals have been linked to birth defects, cancer, and other developmental disorders.

Conditions related to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) include:

  • Breast cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids

Beauty products often contain dangerous chemicals that are hidden behind the ingredient label “fragrance”. Companies are not legally required to disclose specific chemicals used in fragrances, which allows manufacturers to sell products containing harmful chemicals without informing consumers of the materials or risks involved. Roberts Wilson is currently investigating cases of potential litigation against manufacturers who have harmed consumers due to their negligence in disclosing these toxic materials.

What Dangerous Chemicals Are Used in Hair Relaxers?

Some of the harmful chemicals used in hair products include:

  • Bisphenol A
  • Phthalates
  • Parabens
  • Metals
  • Formaldehyde

Heavy metals such as arsenic, nickel, and chromium – and carcinogens like formaldehyde – have been linked to the development of some cancers.

Endocrine-disrupting compounds like bisphenol A, phthalates, and parabens, can interfere with hormone-sensitive functions like fertility.

It’s also worth noting that endocrine disruptors can disrupt a person’s hormonal balance, which can increase the risk of certain diseases including cancer, due to the impact on estrogen levels.

Black Women Are at Higher Risk

The issue of whether hair straighteners cause cancer is of significant concern for Black women as they disproportionately experience the negative effects of carcinogenic chemicals in hair straightening products. In the United States, Black consumers spend an estimated $473 million annually on hair care products. Black women specifically spend nine times more on ethnic hair products compared to non-Black consumers of any gender. Unfortunately, many of these products are specifically designed and marketed to Black women and contain the highest levels of toxic and dangerous ingredients.

Black women have a disproportionate rate of hysterectomies performed, with over 200,000 procedures done annually. In many cases, these hysterectomies are performed due to fibroids, which Black women are diagnosed with three times more often than white women. Additionally, Black women often develop fibroids at an earlier age and experience larger and more numerous fibroids resulting in more severe symptoms.

In the United States, over 100,000 hysterectomies are performed annually as a primary treatment for endometriosis.

Furthermore, Black women have a 31% mortality rate from breast cancer, the highest among any racial or ethnic group in the United States.

How Much Is a Potential Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Worth?

If you have used chemical hair straighteners or relaxers and have been diagnosed with conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, or uterine fibroids, you may be eligible for compensation.

Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be eligible to be compensated for:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

If you have lost a loved one to cancer, you may be able to pursue compensation for expenses such as funeral costs, lost benefits, and more through a wrongful death lawsuit. The attorneys at Roberts Wilson will evaluate your case and guide you through your rights and legal options during a complimentary case review.

Contact a Hair Relaxer Lawyer in Mississippi for FREE

If you have used chemical hair straighteners or relaxers and have been diagnosed with cancer or any other medical condition, the attorneys at Roberts Wilson are here to listen to your story. 

Our law firm has a reputation for successfully handling complex personal injury cases. We have a deep understanding of the laws, science, and medicine related to these cases, and we are dedicated to helping our clients recover the maximum compensation they are entitled to under the law.

Contact us today online or at (662) 533-9111 for a FREE case evaluation. We may be able to assist you in obtaining compensation for expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We proudly serve clients in Oxford, Holly Springs, Batesville, Pontotoc, Desoto & Tate counties, and other areas throughout Mississippi and beyond.