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Hair Relaxer Lawsuits: Personal Stories of Women Affected

The growing number of hair relaxer lawsuits has been making headlines over the past few months. For the most part, it does not even makes sense. Let’s have a look why Black women are more likely to be a victim of toxic chemical hair relaxers.

Can you believe that even Michelle Obama felt the pressure to conform to societal expectations regarding her hair? As the first lady, she faced a dilemma that many African American women can relate to, whether to wear her hair in a more traditional or conservative style or to embrace her natural hair and cultural roots.

In a recent event in Washington, DC, promoting her new book, the former first lady opened up about this topic. She shared the difficulties she faced as a Black woman in the spotlight.

She confessed that, while serving as the first lady, she considered wearing braids but ultimately decided against it. Why? Because she felt people just weren’t ready for that kind of change. It’s astonishing to think that even someone as influential as Michelle Obama had to navigate these complex beauty standards.

In Montgomery, Alabama, Jeanet, a 22-year-old nursing student, is getting ready to transform her hair. She places two boxes of chemical hair relaxers on her bathroom sink and shakes out her long locks. With a camera rolling, she leans in to reveal her wavy roots at her middle part. Her TikTok video about hair relaxer application aims to document her hair relaxer use.

The contrasting experiences of Michelle Obama and Jeanet Stephenson underscore the complex dialogue surrounding beauty, race, and representation.

Societal beauty standards have led many women, particularly those from African American and other ethnic backgrounds, to opt for hair straightener products to achieve a more “acceptable” appearance. This pressure to conform sometimes overshadows the potential health risks associated with these chemical hair relaxers.

EDCs and Phthalates: Chemicals in Hair Relaxer Products

In past years, the cosmetic industry has seen a surge in research uncovering the toxic chemicals in hair relaxers. Among these hidden dangers are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) lurking within the chemical hair relaxer ingredient list.

The more you learn about these EDCs, the more it becomes clear that there needs to be a conversation about the impact of chemical hair relaxers on your health.

So, what are endocrine-disrupting chemicals? EDCs are synthetic or natural compounds that can interfere with our endocrine system’s normal functioning, which regulates hormone production and release in our bodies. This disruption can lead to various health issues, such as uterine fibroids, uterine cancer, and increased breast cancer risk.

Now, let’s take a look at the chemicals in hair relaxers. Many of the relaxers used by African American women contain EDCs like:

  • phthalates
  • Parabens
  • Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives

These chemicals can seep through the scalp and enter our bloodstream, potentially causing hormonal imbalances and various health concerns. Researchers also discovered that women who utilized hair relaxers containing parabens experienced a heightened risk of developing breast cancer.

What does this mean for the countless women who have been using hair products for many years or even decades? Prolonged exposure to EDCs could amplify their adverse effects on health, raising red flags about the safety of these hair relaxer products and emphasizing the need for increased regulation and transparency by these cosmetic companies.

Groundbreaking NIH Study on Hair Relaxers and Uterine Cancer

In October, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a study focused on the potential risks associated with using hair relaxer products, particularly for Black women. The study observed nearly 34,000 women aged 35-74 over 11 years and revealed some alarming results.

Increased Risk of Uterine Cancer

The research found that Black women who reported using chemical hair straighteners faced twice the risk to develop uterine cancer as opposed to women who did not use hair relaxer products. This increased risk demonstrates a significant link between chemical hair relaxer products and uterine cancer, which warrants further investigation and awareness.

The Greater Significance for Black Women

Dr. Che-Jung Chang, a co-author of the study at the National Cancer Institute, emphasized that these findings might be even more significant for Black women. This is because they tend to use hair straightening products or hair relaxer chemicals more frequently and start using them at earlier ages than other racial and ethnic groups. As a result, Black women may be disproportionately affected by the potential health risks associated with hair straighteners.

The Connection to Uterine Fibroids

The heightened risk of uterine cancer may be related to uterine fibroids, which are more common in Black women. The study’s findings highlight the significance of knowing the potential dangers of hair relaxers and advocating for safer alternatives in the beauty industry.

Jenny Mitchell Filed Uterine Cancer Lawsuit Against L’Oreal USA and Others

Jenny Mitchell always envisioned herself becoming a mother. However, in 2018, her dreams were shattered when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer at the age of 28 and had to undergo a hysterectomy.

Mitchell filed a federal hair relaxer lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois, attributing her cancer to the hair products she had been using since her grade school years. She named five companies, including L’Oréal, as defendants, alleging that the chemical hair straighteners she had been using for decades caused her uterine cancer, which she said is not hereditary.

In the chemical hair lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Illinois, Mitchell is suing L’Oréal, SoftSheen Carson, Strength of Nature, Dabur, and Namaste Laboratories, claiming that because of their chemical straighteners and hair relaxers, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She alleges that the cosmetic companies were aware, or should have been aware, of the increased uterine cancer risk associated with their hair straightening products but continued to manufacture and distribute them without warning consumers of the harmful chemicals.

Growing Wave of Hair Relaxer Lawsuits Awaits MDL Panel’s Decision

As more people become aware of the link between hair relaxers and health risks like uterine cancer and breast cancer, the number of hair relaxer cancer lawsuits filed against product manufacturers is on the rise. The Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) panel decides whether these individual cases should be combined into a single class action lawsuit. In the meantime, additional hair relaxer cancer lawsuits are being filed nationwide.

The role of the MDL panel is to determine whether separate lawsuits with similar claims should be consolidated into one class action suit, making the legal process more efficient and easier to manage. The panel’s decision will significantly shape the future of these hair relaxer cancer cases.

While awaiting the MDL panel’s decision, plaintiffs continue to file lawsuits, seeking compensation for health issues they believe are related to hair relaxer usage. Regardless of the panel’s decision, plaintiffs will continue to seek compensation and hold manufacturers accountable for the health risks associated with hair relaxers, including uterine cancer, breast cancer, and uterine fibroids.

As more individuals share their stories and seek justice, the number of chemical hair straightener lawsuits filed is growing. This trend highlights the increasing concern about hair relaxer safety and the beauty industry’s obligation to prioritize consumer health.

If the MDL panel decides to consolidate the cases into a class action, it will create a platform for plaintiffs to seek compensation and hold manufacturers accountable collectively. Until then, people continue to file lawsuits, raising awareness of hair relaxer dangers and sparking changes in the beauty industry.

Regardless of the MDL panel’s decision, the rising number of hair relaxer lawsuits demonstrates the significant impact hair relaxer injury cases have on both the beauty industry and the lives of those affected by the products.

How to Sign Up for the Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

If you have suffered health impacts such as cancer or other serious illnesses potentially linked to the use of hair relaxers, you may be eligible to join a hair relaxer lawsuit. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to sign up and seek justice:

Step 1: Research and gather information

Before taking any legal action, it’s crucial to gather all relevant information, such as the specific hair relaxers you used, the duration of use, and any medical records documenting your health impacts. This information will be helpful when consulting with an attorney for the hair relaxer lawsuit.

Step 2: Connect with a skilled attorney

It’s crucial to find the right attorney to represent you in your hair relaxer lawsuit. When seeking a lawyer, choose someone who has extensive experience in product liability claims and a history of winning hair relaxer cases. Here are some subtle qualities to consider when selecting hair relaxer lawyers:

  • Expertise in hair relaxer litigation and product liability claims.
  • A proven record of success in familiar cases.
  • Compassionate and dedicated to pursuing justice for their clients.
  • Strong communication skills and a commitment to keeping you informed throughout the hair relaxer lawsuit process.
  • A contingency-based payment structure, meaning you don’t pay upfront fees and only pay if compensation is awarded.

Once you’ve identified a qualified attorney, schedule a consultation to discuss your case. During this meeting, share the information you’ve gathered, ask questions, and learn more about your legal options.

A reasonable attorney will provide personalized attention, clear communication, and guidance on the best course of action for your unique situation. By choosing the right hair relaxer lawyer, you’ll have a powerful ally in your pursuit of justice and compensation. Additionally, taking this quiz can help you determine if you qualify for compensation.

Step 3: Evaluate your case

During your consultation, the attorney will evaluate your case and determine if you have a valid claim. They’ll assess the evidence and help you understand the strength of your case, the potential compensation you could receive, and the following steps to take.

Step 4: Sign a retainer agreement

If the attorney agrees to represent you and you decide to move forward, you’ll need to sign a retainer agreement. This document outlines the terms of your representation, including the attorney’s fees.

Step 5: File the Chemical Hair Relaxer lawsuit

Your attorney will work with you to prepare and file the lawsuit. They’ll handle all legal aspects of the case, such as gathering additional evidence, negotiating with the defendants, and representing you in court if necessary.

Step 6: Stay informed and involved

Partnering with a firm that prioritizes clear communication and personalized attention is vital for a successful outcome. At Uptown Injury Law, we have a team of experienced lawyers specializing in hair relaxer lawsuits, mainly product liability claims.

Our dedication to client satisfaction and high-quality legal representation ensures that you are well-informed and actively involved in your pursuit of justice. Contact us at 917-540-8728to schedule a FREE consultation.

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Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
WRITTEN AND REVIEWED BY
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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