Our attorneys help victims bring lawsuits against hair straighteners nationwide. This page explains how chemical straighteners can cause uterine fibroids.
African-American women are three times more likely to develop uterine fibroids. Why? No one asked why.
New scientific research shows that a contributing cause to uterine cancer and uterine fibroids in black women may be the chemical in hair relaxers. Lawsuits are now being filed by women who used hair relaxers and developed uterine fibroids.
Our relaxer lawyers are currently investigating new lawsuits for women who have used chemical relaxers regularly diagnosed with uterine fibroids. There are limitation periods for these lawsuits. Call our law firm today at 800-553-8082 or get a free online case evaluation.
Hair straighteners and/or relaxers (also called “perms”), usually creams, lotions or oils, are used by African American women to make their hair smoother, smoother and more manageable on a daily basis. Hair straightening, or lanthionization, can be performed by a professional cosmetologist in a salon or hair salon, or at home with home straightening kits designed for individual use.
Relaxers are applied to the base of the hair shaft and left in place for a “bake” interval, during which the relaxer alters the texture of the hair by deliberately damaging the hair’s natural protein structure. Re-treatment is usually required every 4-8 weeks.
Hair relaxers contain hormone-active and carcinogenic compounds, such as phthalates, known to cause endocrine disruption, are not listed separately as ingredients but instead are often grouped under the categories “fragrance” or ” scent”.
Phthalates are particularly harmful to the human body as they are endocrine disruptors (EDCs). The endocrine system is involved in the production and circulation of hormones such as estrogen. Endocrine disruptors interfere with the normal activity of the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors disrupt the endocrine system and interfere with the hormonal homeostasis of the body in various ways.
Uterine fibroids are common solid tumors in women. Estimates of the prevalence of uterine fibroids vary, ranging from conservative estimates of 30-50% of women at the time of menopause to over 80% of African American women by age 50. It’s amazing how few people ask why uterine fibroids are more common in women.
Fibroids result from an overgrowth of muscle cells in the uterus. Most are harmless. About a third of uterine fibroids become symptomatic.
Two of the most common complaints of women with uterine fibroids are pelvic pressure and abnormal uterine bleeding. Uterine fibroids are a common indication for hysterectomy. This is a big problem for women, especially young women who are trying to have children.
In young women of childbearing age, their fibroids will often gradually continue to grow and grow. When they get large enough, they can cause definite symptoms. Symptoms can be pain, excessive bleeding with their periods and, as we will see below, anemia due to this excessive bleeding. Women with uterine fibroids often feel pressure on their rectum and bladder
A symptom you often see in women with uterine fibrosis is that their waistline is getting bigger. That’s not a nice way to say they’re gaining weight. It’s just their waistline like they’re pregnant.
Uterine fibroids and anemia
Women with uterine fibroids often have heavy menstrual cycles. This excessive uterine bleeding often results in a low blood count. This causes anemia. Anemic patients do not have enough red blood cells to supply oxygen to the tissues. So if this is a symptom, your doctor will often order blood tests with a complete blood count (CBC). This test measures the patient’s hemoglobin and hematocrit.
Hemoglobin carries oxygen to cells. Hematocrit is the part of your blood volume made up of red blood cells. If a person loses an excessive amount of blood during the menstrual cycle, this abnormal loss of blood volume each month will result in a decrease in hemoglobin and hematocrit.
Chemicals in hair relaxers can cause uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are muscle tumors that form in the wall of the uterus. Uterine fibroids are not cancerous, tumors are almost always benign. However, uterine fibroids can be very painful and cause bleeding. Treatment for painful uterine fibroids usually involves surgery to remove them.
Black women in the United States are disproportionately affected by uterine fibroids compared to other racial groups. Black women are three times more likely to develop uterine fibroids than white women. Also, uterine fibroids in black women occur much earlier compared to other racial groups. Black women tend to develop uterine fibroids in their twenties rather than their thirties.
A well-established body of scientific research has determined that the high rate of uterine fibroids in black women in the United States appears to be linked to the use of hair-relaxing chemicals. The most significant study on this subject was published in 2012 in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Lauren A. Wise, et al., Use of Hair Straighteners and Risk of Uterine Leiomyoma in African American Women, American Journal of EpidemiologyVolume 175, Number 5, March 1, 2012.
This study looked at the health records of over 23,000 premenopausal African American women from 1997 to 2009. The study results clearly showed that women who regularly used chemical relaxers (particularly from a young age age) had a significantly increased risk of developing uterine fibroids. compared to those who did not use a relaxer.
A subsequent study on the link between hair straightening and uterine fibroids was published in Environmental Research in 2018. This study measured the concentration of chemicals found in 18 different perm or hair straightening products. The study found that the products contained numerous undisclosed toxic chemicals, many of which were actually banned in the EU.
Uterine fibrosis linked to hair straightening
Research has shown that the use of chemical relaxers is also linked to other female cancers, including uterine cancer and breast cancer. A University of Oxford study published in 2021 found that a black woman who used a chemical relaxer at least 7 times a year for 15 years or more had a 30% increased risk of developing breast cancer.
That’s a strong correlation, isn’t it? But the link between relaxer and uterine cancer is even stronger. In October 2022 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a major new study which concluded that the risk of uterine cancer increased by 100% following long-term use of a chemical relaxer.
Di-2-Ethylhexyl Phthalate (“DEHP”) is a synthetic phthalate that is used in all hair straighteners or relaxers to make them stick to the scalp and absorb into the hair. DEHP is an endocrine disruptor known to significantly disrupt the hormonal system. When absorbed by the body, DEHP breaks down into various metabolites. Some of these unique DEHP metabolites are very harmful.
How long have we known that DEHP can cause cancer? On January 1, 1988, the Governor of California added DEHP to the state’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer. So no one missed it. The key is that the women using this product were informed of the risk? Of course, they weren’t.
Product liability lawsuits against the cosmetic companies that make these relaxer products are now being filed by women across the country. The first hair straightener lawsuit was filed in Chicago in October 2022. Eight more hair straightener cancer lawsuits were filed in the following weeks and thousands more are expected.
So far, all of these lawsuits have been for uterine cancer. The plaintiffs allege that they developed uterine cancer over the years from regularly using chemical relaxers. The main defendants named in these cases included international cosmetics companies such as L’Oréal and Revlon.
L’Oréal manufactures Dark & Lovely®, which is the most popular hair relaxer product on the market. Revlon manufactures a leading brand of professional hair straighteners used in salons. A host of other small companies that make hair straightening products were also named as defendants.
Potential Settlement Amounts for Uterine Fibroids Cases with Hair Straightening
We should preface this section by pointing out that lawsuits against hair straighteners are only just beginning to be filed, so any settlement values are purely speculative. The scientific evidence in these cases is literally still emerging and it is unclear whether it will be admissible in court. The estimated settlement payout below is based on a number of very important assumptions.
Assuming the evidence of causation in these cases stands up to legal challenges, our attorneys estimate that the relaxer lawsuits involving uterine fibroids as the primary injury could have a potential settlement of between $150,000 and $500,000 depending on the case. severity of injuries. Jury payouts could run into the millions of dollars. Why the difference? There will likely be a class action lawsuit against hair relaxers. If there is a settlement in a class action, it is usually a lower compromise than what you would expect from a jury.
The causal evidence linking uterine fibroids to relaxer is strong. So while it’s early in the lawsuits for hair straighteners, these should be strong cases. The only reason our settlement payout estimate isn’t higher is because uterine fibroids aren’t life threatening. In many cases they can be very painful and require surgery and these are the cases that will be at the higher end of the settlement’s compensation range.
Contact us about a uterine fibroid lawsuit
Our law firm assists victims who wish to take legal action against manufacturers of hair straighteners, hair perms and relaxers for causing uterine fibroids. If you have used a chemical hair straightener and were later diagnosed with uterine fibroids, contact our office today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.