Hair Relaxer Lawsuit: The Truth Behind Hair Relaxing Chemicals and Cancer Compensation

Hair is an important aspect of our beauty. This is why individuals choose branded products to enhance their physical traits. But did you know that chemical hair relaxers are linked to cancer? The answer is yes. There was breaking news that women who have used chemical hair straighteners for years have been diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer.

In this article, we will discuss that you have a legal right to hold cosmetics companies accountable and receive compensation for your injuries and losses. We will also explain hair relaxer lawsuits. Moreover, you can check if you qualify to file a hair relaxer lawsuit.

Hair Relaxers

First of all, we need to know what are hair relaxers and how they affect our health. Hair relaxers are special products designed to straighten curly or tightly coiled hair. Consequently, they will give you smooth, salon-quality results. They’re a game-changer for people with extremely curly hair.

If we talk about history, the concept of hair relaxing dates back to the late 1800s. However, the first chemical relaxers were invented in the 1870s by French hairstylist Marcel Grateau. These early relaxers used strong chemicals like potassium thioglycolate, which is still used today. In fact, hair relaxing only became widely popular among African American women in the 1950s as a method of achieving smoother, more manageable hair.

Relaxers contain strong alkaline chemicals that break down the hair’s protein structure, specifically the disulfide bonds found in keratin. This process, which usually takes around 15-20 minutes. It is often referred to as “cooking” the hair. After rinsing and neutralizing the relaxer, the hair is left straight and smooth.

Here, it is important to note that buying branded products is not necessary. Rather, it’s important to know whether they are suitable for you or not. Where relaxers have benefits, there are also drawbacks, such as dryness, redness, or irritation to the scalp.

Nowadays, some relaxers have guanidine carbonate instead of sodium hydroxide. In addition, Since the 2000s, the rise of the “big chop” has decreased the use of relaxers among some African American women. However, relaxers remain a popular choice for many individuals.

Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

Now let us know about the hair relaxer lawsuit.  Thousands of Americans use hair relaxers, but their potential health risks have caused legal scrutiny. It is reported that their use has increased the risk of uterine and breast cancer, particularly in Black women. This led to a decline in sales. Consequently, there was an increase in product liability lawsuits against manufacturers.

The growing number of cases calls for the initiation of multidistrict litigation. This helps to streamline legal proceedings. Despite ongoing litigation, no settlements or verdicts have been reached yet. Ok, let us make it more easy for you to understand. The table provides a clear timeline of the key events surrounding the hair relaxer lawsuits.

Dates Events
October 17, 2022 The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study linking chemical hair relaxers and straighteners to uterine cancer.
2019 The National Cancer Institute released a study indicating that the use of hair relaxers and permanent hair dyes increases the risk of certain cancers in women by 9%.
2021 A study correlates the use of hair relaxers with breast cancer in Black women, raising concerns about the safety of these products.
2022 National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed that frequent use of chemical hair relaxers could double the risk of uterine cancer.
2023 Thousands of new lawsuits are filed across the United States by women who believe they developed cancer due to using hair relaxers.
2023 Sales of chemical relaxers drop significantly, indicating growing consumer awareness of associated health risks.
2023 Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is initiated in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, consolidating numerous lawsuits related to hair relaxer use and cancer.
2024 Approximately 6,000 cases are added to the hair relaxer MDL as more affected individuals come forward.

Cancer-Causing Hair Relaxers

Now, the question arises: How would we know if this product is not suitable for our health? Here, we are providing you with a list of highly toxic chemicals found in hair relaxers. These chemicals get absorbed into your skull. Then, they enter the bloodstream and can harm the reproductive system. These include:

  • Parabens
  • Nitrosamines
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Metals
  • Formaldehyde
  • Diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP)
  • Cantu Shea Butter
  • Natika, Revlon Africa’s Best
  • Schwarzkopf Glatt
  • Ultra Sheen

Now, let’s discuss the brands that are implicated in hair relaxer lawsuits. These brands include SoftSheen Carson (owned by L’Oreal), Bantu, Dark and Lovely, Optimum, Ultra PreciseNamaste (owned by Dabur), ORS Hair Care, Curls Unleashed, HAIRepair, ORS Olive Oil, Strength of Nature, African Pride, Just for Me, Motions, Soft & Beautiful, Luster’s Pink, and TCB Naturals.

Hair Relaxer Class Action Lawsuit 2024 Updates

Let us now move on to the latest updates of the hair relaxer class action lawsuit.

May 2024:  This month includes 81 new cases for the hair relaxer class action MDL. Therefore, the total count was 8,468. Furthermore, the FDA missed the deadline for proposing a ban on formaldehyde.

April 2024: Only 53 new cases were added, totaling 8,387 pending cases. The last batch of Plaintiff Fact Sheets was due on April 17, 2024. In addition, the defendants opposed Professor Maura Grossman as special master due to a conflict of interest and preferred Judge Paul Grimm.

March 2024: 117 new cases were added to MDL, bringing the total reported cases to 8,334. Revlon issued a subpoena to the NIH. Moreover, the plaintiffs planned to file a Motion to Quash. There was also a dispute in MDL-3060 over the procedure for dismissing cases. A Magistrate judge held a status hearing covering Special Master Selection, Legacy System Discovery, and Search Methodology Agreement. The next hearing was scheduled for April 11, 2024.

February 2024:  MDL added 191 new cases, bringing the total to 8,217. A new lawsuit was filed against L’Oreal this month. The hair relaxer lawsuit focused on economic loss, with defendants arguing a lack of standing for plaintiffs. It was proposed that Judge Sidney Schenkier be appointed as special master if one was required. An agreement was reached on Judge Paul Grimm as Special Master.

January 2024: The MDL granted the plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery and set a deadline for the defendants to respond to interrogatories. The judge set a deadline for Plaintiff Fact Sheets. He also issued a case management order requiring the completion of the fact sheets. Thus, MDL has surpassed 8000 cases with the addition of 42 new cases.

The plaintiffs suggested a bellwether trial schedule focusing on ovarian, endometrial, and uterine malignancies. The focus of the hair relaxer lawsuit was ovarian, endometrial, and uterine malignancies were also discussed.

Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

File Claim against Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

Interestingly, Jennifer Mitchell was the first lady who claimed a hair relaxer lawsuit. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer when she was only 28. It is unbelievable that she has been using these products since she was just ten. The complaint targets companies known for making chemical straightening products. Prominent among these are L’Oreal, SoftSheen Carson, Strength of Nature, Dabur, and Namaste Laboratories.

Hair relaxer lawsuits are relatively new, with no significant settlements announced since the first lawsuit in October 2022. Receiving a settlement offer before filing a lawsuit is uncommon. In fact, seeking compensation for hair relaxer-related cancers or injuries can start with legal action.

  • Furthermore, an attorney will guide the process. He will also advise on whether to file locally or directly into the multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Illinois. Therefore, before proceeding with a hair relaxer claim, it is essential to gather specific information. It includes:
  • The brand and product name of the chemical hair relaxer used.
  • The duration and frequency of use.
  • Please provide details of your diagnosis, supported by evidence such as medical records and bills.
  • This thorough preparation will strengthen your case. It will also help your attorney pursue the best possible outcome on your behalf.

Average Hair Relaxer Compensation Payout

Settlement amounts might range from $100,000 to $1,500,000 in lawsuits. These amounts may be higher for younger plaintiffs. Furthermore, they may be eligible for higher compensation, if the cancer has rendered them permanently infertile. Undoubtedly, trial payment expectations can be significantly higher.

The defendants in each specific lawsuit will also influence the settlement amount. For instance, L’Oréal could afford to compensate juries and settlements fairly. However, smaller businesses may find it challenging to offer competitive salaries. The following variables influence the settlement amount:

  • The extent of the wounds.
  • Influence on productivity at work.
  • Medical costs.
  • Damages could include lost wages, travel expenses, and attorney fees.

According to hypotheses, payouts might range from $400,000 to $1.5 million. Every case is different. Therefore, having knowledgeable legal representation is considered crucial to ensuring fair compensation.

Settlement or Verdict

One possible consequence of a hair relaxer lawsuit is to settle. In essence, the defendant withdraws any counterclaims they may have made against you. You give up your action in return. Settlement agreements can remain confidential. Your attorney can help you navigate the heightened scrutiny from the plaintiffs’ steering committee in multidistrict litigation.

You can bring your legal proceedings to a close by accepting a settlement. On the other hand, a trial verdict may be contested and potentially overturned on appeal. Many people opt to resolve their disputes through settlements rather than going to trial because verdicts are generally less reliable than settlements. Nonetheless, verdicts often lead to larger awards, and many of them withstand the appeals process.

This table provides a summary of settlements granted for misdiagnosis or inadequate treatment of uterine cancer. Settlements were granted in various states and years due to misdiagnosis or inadequate treatment of uterine cancer.

Settlement Amount Location Year Case Description
$5,800,000 Pennsylvania 2021 A 48-year-old Philadelphian woman’s uterine cancer spread and metastasized after a hysterectomy.
$1,800,000 Illinois 2020 A 41-year-old plaintiff from Chicago was diagnosed with uterine cancer. This diagnosis led to a 4-year delay in treatment.
$500,000 Washington 2018 A 71-year-old woman with a history of cancer was not diagnosed with uterine cancer for five months due to inadequate communication.
$600,000 New York 2015 A 35-year-old woman did not receive an ultrasound report. This delay in her uterine cancer diagnosis may result in a lower settlement amount.
$430,000 Minnesota 2014 A doctor settled a case for allegedly failing to diagnose uterine cancer in a 60-year-old patient. This delay in diagnosis led to the cancer progressing to stage 3C.
$1,750,000 Massachusetts 2013 A 52-year-old plaintiff was not diagnosed with uterine cancer. The cancer spread to her lungs, leading to its eventual terminal stage.

Read also: Navient Class Action Lawsuit

Bottom Line

Finally, we have learned that some hair products could pose serious health risks. Chemical hair relaxers have been linked to cancer, particularly among women. You may qualify for compensation if the use of these products resulted in the development of ovarian or uterine cancer. Therefore, find out about lawsuits involving hair relaxers. And think about taking legal action to protect your rights.

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