Toxic hair straightening products by L’Oreal, Strength of Nature, and other companies may cause fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, or uterine cancer. Consumers most at risk for getting sick from chemical hair relaxants are African-American women.
Here are four key things to know about the current hair relaxer fibroid lawsuits:
- All the hair relaxer fibroid lawsuits are being consolidated into one federal court MDL (multi-district litigation) out of Chicago.
- Use of chemical hair relaxers makes you 1.4 times more likely to develop uterine fibroids and twice as likely to develop estrogen-dependent cancers.
- Endocrine system disruptors in chemical hair relaxers enter your bloodstream through burns and lesions on your scalp.
- Chemical hair straighteners remain on the market despite their toxic ingredients increasingly being banned by local and foreign governments.
Currently, Shouse Law Group is accepting clients who:
- used hair straighteners at least four times in one year and
- were diagnosed with either of these health problems:
- uterine fibroids with surgical intervention or anticipated surgery;
- endometriosis with intervention or anticipated intervention;
- uterine cancer; or
- ovarian cancer.
We are pursuing the highest financial settlement amount possible under the law.
In this article, our personal injury attorneys discuss:
- 1. What is the latest with the hair relaxant fibroid litigation?
- 2. Are hair straighteners making me sick?
- 3. Which hair straightener brands are being sued?
- 4. Has there been a recall?
- 5. How much money can I get if I sue?
- 6. What is the statute of limitations to bring a hair relaxer fibroid lawsuit?
- 7. What should I do if I use hair relaxers?
- 8. How can an attorney help me?
1. What is the latest with the hair relaxant fibroid litigation?
All the hair relaxant lawsuits throughout the United States are being consolidated into a multi-district litigation (MDL) out of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. The case name is:
- In RE: Hair Relaxer Marketing, Sales Practices, And Products Liability Litigation (MDL 3060 under Judge Mary M. Rowland)
Similar to class actions, MDLs are a way to expedite the litigation and settlement process by combining similar lawsuits together into one federal court case. As of August 2023, the MDL consists of about 275 plaintiffs. Tens of thousands more are expected to join.
The MDL is still in its very early stages. Hopefully soon the case will proceed to discovery, which is where the cosmetic companies will be forced to disclose vital documentation about what they knew and when.
1.1. What are the legal claims?
The central claims alleged in these cancer and uterine fibroids lawsuits are:
- defective design – for creating a hair relaxant product that is inherently dangerous;
- failure to warn – for not including a warning label on the product packaging disclosing the types of cancer and fibroid risks;
- false advertising – for giving the impression that the hair relaxants are safe by saying “lye-free” on the box when in fact they contained other harmful chemicals; and
- negligence – for breaching the manufacturer’s duty to customers to sell safe products.
2. Are hair straighteners making me sick?
Recent studies show that chemical hair relaxers, keratin, and Brazilian blowouts cause an increased risk of:
- uterine fibroids,
- endometriosis, and
- uterine and/or ovarian cancer.
2.1. Uterine fibroids
Multiple studies indicate that women who use chemical hair relaxants are 1.4 times more likely to develop uterine fibroids, which are tumors caused by an overgrowth of uterine muscle cells. Although fibroids are usually benign growths, about a third of them eventually cause symptoms such as:
- abnormal bleeding
- pelvic, rectal, and/or bladder pressure
- constipation, difficulty emptying bladder, and/or frequent urination
- larger waists
- anemia (from the excessive bleeding)
- infertility, miscarriage, and/or preterm labor due to the uterus being distorted by fibroids
Fibroids can be removed through a myomectomy. In serious fibroid cases, women require a partial hysterectomy or a menopause-causing total hysterectomy.1
The endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) found in hair relaxants masquerade as female sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone. This results in a natural hormone imbalance, which in turn causes inflammation, uterine cell DNA damage, and the growth of both benign and malignant tumors.
Since fibroids have more hormone receptors than uterine muscle cells do, EDCs bind to these receptors and speed up their growth.
Studies show a link between the endocrine disruptors found in hair relaxants and endometriosis, which is the condition where tissue grows outside your uterus. Symptoms of endometriosis include:
- excessive bleeding and painful periods
- painful sexual intercourse
- pain with using the bathroom
As with fibroids, the most serious cases require a hysterectomy. Currently there is no data that suggests endometriosis leads to endometrial cancer.2
2.3. Uterine or ovarian cancer
Recent studies show that a woman’s risk of uterine cancer or ovarian cancer is doubled when they use hair straightening products more than four times in the prior year.
Common symptoms of uterine cancer are heavy bleeding and cramping. Meanwhile, ovarian cancer often presents as constipation and bloating. Both cancers are life-threatening unless they are caught and treated at stage 1.3
2.3.1. How do hair relaxants cause cancer?
Hair straighteners contain industrial, synthetic chemicals, such as:
- phthalates (plasticizers),
- bisphenol A, and
The most toxic phthalate in hair straightening products is the endocrine-disrupting chemical DEHP (DI-2-Ethylhexylphthalate, or DEHP), a gelling agent that helps preserve fragrance.2 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has classified DEHP as
“reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
When hair relaxers are applied to your scalp, it causes burns, sores, and lesions. This makes it easier for the DEHP in the relaxants to be absorbed into your body.
Once in your body, it can cause chromosomal aberration and DNA damage. Since DEHP disrupts hormones such as estrogen, it can lead to estrogen-dependent cancer cases like uterine cancer and ovarian cancer.4
2.3.2. How is DEHP still legal?
Activists are working to get DEHP banned in all its forms.
In California, DEHP is on the Proposition 65 list of “Chemicals Known to the State to Cause Cancer or Reproductive Toxicity.” As of 2025, the use of DEHP in cosmetics will be completely outlawed in California.
Meanwhile, the European Union and Canada outright banned DEHP in cosmetic products.5
3. Which hair straightener brands are being sued?
Five brands that are currently the subject of hair relaxer uterine fibroid lawsuits are:
|Defendants in Hair Straightener Fibroid Lawsuits ||Dangerous Products|
|1. L’Oreal USA Products Inc./Soft Sheen/Carson Inc.|| |
|2. Strength of Nature Global LLC/Godrej Son Holdings, Inc.|| |
|3. Soft Sheen Carson (W.I.) Inc. (associated with L’Oreal)|| |
|4. Dabur International Ltd. and Dabur USA Inc.|| |
|5. Namaste Laboratories|| |
Other brands/companies facing chemical hair straightener lawsuits include:
4. Has there been a recall?
So far, the FDA has not recalled any chemical hair relaxer products despite their probable links to fibroids, endometriosis, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer.
5. What money can I get if I sue?
Through negligence and product liability lawsuits, our hair relaxer lawyers will be fighting to compensate you for all your:
- medical bills for operations, chemo, radiation, surgery, home health care, and other related medical expenses,
- past and future lost wages from being too ill to work, and
- pain and suffering, which is often the largest expense – especially if the treatments left you unable to have children.
The more severe your injuries, the higher your payout. Therefore we anticipate settlements ranging from the tens of thousands (for minor fibroid cases) to the millions (in cancer cases).
If you had a family member who died of uterine cancer from using hair relaxants, we can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in pursuit of the above damages as well as funeral expenses.
We will also be fighting for punitive damages to punish the defendants for their greed. Hair care is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the cosmetics companies got rich peddling harmful products that increase health risks to women, many of whom are women of color.
6. What is the statute of limitations to bring a hair relaxer fibroid lawsuit?
The time limit to bring a hair relaxant fibroid lawsuit is usually two years after you discover your injury, but in some states it can be as little as one year. Therefore contact us as soon as you realize you may be a victim so we can get started on your legal action before the deadline to file passes.
7. What should I do if I used hair relaxers?
Speak to your doctor, who will likely advise you to stop all further usage of hair relaxants. Your physician may also suggest you get undergo radiology to detect:
- endometriosis, or
- uterine or ovarian cancer.
None of these conditions can be detected through a routine pap smear or pelvic exam.
In the event you are diagnosed with fibroids, endometriosis, uterine cancer or ovarian cancer, contact Shouse Law Firm about the possibility of bringing a lawsuit.
8. How can an attorney help me?
Our hair straightener lawsuit attorneys will:
- obtain all of your medical records;
- handle the entire legal process from start to finish; and
- pursue the biggest monetary payout possible under the law.
You can help us by compiling proof that you used hair straightening products (either at the salon or over-the-counter) in the form of:
- Packaging (or photos of packaging), and
- Salon records.
No amount of money can make up for getting sick, especially if it left you unable to have children. So we plan to make the hair relaxant manufacturers apologize in the only way they can – with their wallet.
Our law firm does not get paid unless we win your lawsuit, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you or your loved one is a victim, call now for a free case review.
- Lauren Wise et. al., Hair Relaxer Use and Risk of Uterine Leiomyomata in African-American Women, American Journal of Epidemiology (1 March 2012). Uterine Fibroids, Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Juhye Kim, et al., Chronic Low-Dose Nonylphenol or Di-(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate has a Different Estrogen-like Response in Mouse Uterus, Development & Reproduction (2018). Endometriosis, Johns Hopkins Medicine.
- Che-Jung Chang, Alexandra White et. al., Use of Straighteners and Other Hair Products on Incident Uterine Cancer, Journal of the National Cancer Institute (October 17, 2022)(“In this large, prospective cohort study, we observed that straightening product use was positively associated with uterine cancer.”). Jacqueline Howard, Hair-straightening chemical products linked to increased uterine cancer risk in new study, CNN (October 18, 2022). See also Cicely A. Richard, The History of Hair Relaxers, Classroom.com (September 29, 2017); Thandisizwe Chimurenga, How Toxic is Black Hair Care? The Final Call (February 8, 2012). Some chemicals that these products contained in the past include lye (sodium hydroxide), guanidine carbonate succinic Acid, formaldehyde, and placenta protein. See also Study Finds Hair-Straightening Chemicals Raised Uterine Cancer Risk, NIH (National Institutes of Health) Record (January 6, 2023)(“The study data includes 33,497 U.S. women ages 35-74 participating in the NIEHS-led Sister Study that seeks to identify risk factors for breast cancer and other health conditions.”). Ovarian Cancer, Cancer Research UK. Uterine Cancer, Cleveland Clinic. Lauren Wise et. al. Use of Chemical Hair Straighteners and Fecundability in a North American Preconception Cohort, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 192, Issue 7 (July 2023)(” In this preconception cohort study, use of chemical hair straighteners was associated with slightly reduced fecundability.”).
- ToxFAQs™ for Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry/CDC. Note that other chemicals used in relaxers include methyl hydrate, calcium hydroxide, guanidine hydroxide, and thioglycolic acid.
- Regulation (EC) No1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic products. Phthalates, Government of Canada. California Toxic-Free Cosmetic Act (AB 2762-Muratsuchi). Proposition 65 List (some of the prohibited chemicals include diethylhexylphthalate, formaldehyde, methylene glycol, isobutylparaben, and isopropylparaben).
- Amanda Su and Sabina Ghebremedhin, Woman sues 5 companies alleging their chemical hair-straightening products caused her uterine cancer, ABC (October 24, 2022). Dana Rebik, Lawsuit against L’Oreal and 4 other cosmetic companies, alleges chemical hair straighteners can cause uterine cancer, WGN9 (October 24, 2022). Chemicals in Hair Straightening Products Background Document, Department of Toxic Substances Control Safer Consumer Products Program (May 24, 2021). Paula L. Johnson, et. al., Chemicals of Concern in Personal Care Products Used by Women of Color in Three Communities in California, Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology (November, 2022). See note 2. T.M. Crisp, et. al., Environmental endocrine disruption: an effects assessment and analysis, Environ Health Perspect (February, 1998). Alexandra White, et. al., Use of hair products in relation to ovarian cancer risk, Carcinogenesis (June 6, 2021)(“Frequent use (>4 times/year) of straighteners was strongly associated with ovarian cancer, compared to never use[.]”).