A recent lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against L’Oréal USA alleges the use of certain hair care products led to uterine cancer. On October 21, 2022, attorneys for Jenny Mitchell filed a complaint linking Mitchell’s 2018 diagnosis of uterine cancer to her use of L’Oréal hair straighteners.
The Mitchell complaint was filed on the heels of a new study released by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) on October 17, 2022 associating hair straightening chemicals with higher uterine cancer risk, specifically in Black women. The Sister Study conducted by NIEHS collected data from 33,497 U.S. women ages 35-74 over the course of 11 years. Findings show that women who used hair straightening products more than four times a year, were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with uterine cancer as women who did not use hair straightening products.
At issue in the Mitchell complaint is the Defendants’ use of phthalates in hair straightening products. Phthalates are chemical compounds historically used in the plastics industry. Modern day uses of phthalates include many personal-care products including the hair straighteners identified in the complaint (Motions, Organic Root Stimulator, Olive Oil Relaxer, and Dark & Lovely). Phthalates are known to be endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Black women are disproportionately affected by these risks due to targeted marketing and more frequent use of hair straightening products. The Mitchell complaint states in 2020, “the global Black hair care market was estimated at $2.5 billion, with the hair relaxer market alone estimated at $718 million in 2021, with the expectation of growth to $854 million annually by 2028.”
DeGaris Law is investigating these types of claims. Please contact our firm today for a FREE CONSULTATION if you believe you have been injured as a result of chemical exposure from hair care products.