Hair Relaxer and Endometrial Cancer Lawsuits

Chemical hair relaxers and hair perms are products routinely used by a majority of African American women in the U.S. Scientific research has recently established that the chemicals in hair relaxers can cause endometrial cancer, and other serious health conditions.

Lawsuits are now being filed by women who may have developed endometriosis from prolonged use of hair perms or hair relaxers.  There is a class action lawsuit ongoing in New York that has consolidated all endometriosis hair relaxers lawsuits together.


Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. It is one of the most common types of cancer affecting the female reproductive system. The exact cause of endometrial cancer is not always clear, but several factors can increase the risk of developing it, including:

Symptoms of endometrial cancer may include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or pressure, changes in bowel or bladder habits, and weight loss. Early detection and treatment are crucial for a better prognosis.

Treatment options for endometrial cancer depend on various factors such as the stage of cancer, the woman’s overall health, and her preferences. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or a combination of these approaches. As with any cancer, early detection and prompt treatment can improve the chances of successful outcomes. Regular screenings and awareness of risk factors are essential for managing endometrial cancer effectively.


Endometrial cancer occurs when healthy uterine cells mutate or change. The abnormal cells multiply, grow and do not die like normal cells. If enough of them grow, they may form a tumor and spread to other tissues or other parts of the body around the uterus. Symptoms of endometrial cancer include: abnormal vaginal bleeding, including significant changes in menstrual cycle or bleeding between periods and pelvic pain. Often, however, this type of cancer has very few noticeable symptoms.

Hair Relaxers or Hair Perms

Hair relaxer (also referred to as “hair perm” or “hair straightener”) is a cosmetic product that many Black women use to manipulate their hair and force it to flatten out. A strong cocktail of chemicals in hair relaxer products weaken the protein structure of hair strands which forces the hair to lay flat.

Most chemical hair relaxer products utilize phthalates, special chemicals known as “plasticizers” which are used to add plastic-like durability and flexibility to many different types of cosmetics. Phthalates are problematic because they are known to be endocrine-disrupting-chemicals (EDCs). EDCs are chemicals that interact and disrupt the normal operation and flow of the human endocrine system which produces and distributes hormones in the body.


The phthalate found in  most hair relaxers that is particularly harmful is called Di-2- ethyl hexyl phthalate (“DEHP”). When DEHP enters the body it breaks down into various metabolites, many of which are highly toxic.

DEHP and its metabolites are known to cause significant adverse-health effects including but not limited to: endometriosis, developmental abnormalities, reproductive dysfunction and infertility, various cancers, and metabolic syndrome.

Hair Relaxer User Can Cause Endometrial Cancer

A recent study found that women who frequently use chemical hair straighteners and relaxers could have a higher risk of developing endometrial cancer than those who have not used the products. The study, which tracked 34,000 women nationwide for more than a decade, comes at a time when uterine cancer rates in women are increasing, especially among Black women.

The researchers found that women in the study who never used hair straighteners had a 1.64% risk of developing uterine cancer by age 70 compared to a 4.05% risk for those who often use straighteners. Frequent use was defined as four times in the previous year, regardless of whether women applied the products themselves or had them applied by others.

The increased risk was found in women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, but it might be more pronounced among Black women: 60% of participants who said they used hair straighteners identified as Black women.

Hair Relaxer Linked to Uterine Cancer and Other Diseases

Aside from endometriosis, new evidence has established that chronic exposure to chemical hair relaxer is directly can cause uterine cancer, breast cancer and several other hormone related diseases and health conditions. A major new study was published in October 2022 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute which found that regular use of chemical hair relaxer increased the risk of developing uterine cancer by 100%.

In 2021, a study at Oxford University determined that black woman who used chemical hair relaxer a minimum of 7 times per year for 15-years or longer displayed a 30% increase in the risk of developing breast cancer.

Additional studies have linked long-term use of hair relaxer or hair perms to uterine fibroids (non-cancerous tumors in the uterine tissue). According to a 2012 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who regularly used hair relaxer significantly increased their risk of developing uterine fibroids.

The use of hair relaxer has also been linked to increased risk of endometriosis, a condition in which uterine tissue abnormally grows outside the uterus and often causes female infertility. A collection of medical studies have established that DEHP exposure increases the risk of endometriosis by increasing the production of certain cells that lead to the condition.  

Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

In October 2022, Jenny Mitchell filed the very first hair relaxer cancer lawsuit against L’Oreal and a handful of other cosmetic companies (Mitchell v. L’Oreal USA, et al.). Mitchell started using hair relaxers at age 10 and was diagnosed with uterine cancer at age 28.

Her lawsuit, filed in federal court in Chicago, alleges that her uterine cancer was caused by exposure to the chemicals in the hair relaxer products. She claims that the cosmetic companies knew or should have known about the potential link between uterine cancer and the chemicals in their products, but failed to warn about this risk, or design a safer alternative.

The hair relaxer lawsuit filed by Jenny Mitchell is the first of what could potentially be thousands of similar product liability cases filed in the years to come now that we have a hair relaxer class action lawsuit.

Estimated Settlement Payout of Hair Relaxer Endometrial Lawsuits

Providing accurate estimates for the settlement value of new lawsuits like this is always problematic. At this point, nobody knows for certain whether these cases are going to be successful or whether the scientific evidence on causation will be admissible in court.

Given these limitations, however, we can still provide a fairly reasonable estimate as to the potential value of endometriosis hair relaxer lawsuits. Our attorneys believe that a strong case alleging endometriosis was caused by hair relaxer could have a potential settlement payout between $475,000 to $1,000,000. The reason for this high value estimate is primarily that the strength of the causation evidence linking endometrial cancer to hair relaxer is very strong.

Filing a Hair Relaxer Endometriosis Lawsuit

Our firm is currently investigating product liability cases alleging that chemicals in hair perm and hair relaxer products caused endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer.  We are no longer taking endometriois only cases.  That could change in the future.

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