Hair Relaxer Uterine Fibroids Lawsuit

Our lawyers are helping victims file hair relaxer lawsuits throughout the country. This page is about how chemical hair straighteners can cause uterine fibroids.

African American women are three times more likely to develop uterine fibroids. Why?  No one was asking 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 brought by women who used hair relaxer products and developed uterine fibroids.

Our hair relaxer lawyers are now investigating new lawsuits for women who used chemical hair relaxer products regularly diagnosed with uterine fibroids. There are statutes of limitations for these suits.  Call our law firm today at 800-553-8082 or get a free online case evaluation.


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Chemical Hair Relaxers

Hair straighteners and/or relaxers (also called “hair perms”), typically creams, lotions, or oils, are used by African American women to make their hair smoother, straighter, and easier to manage daily. Hair relaxing, or lanthionization, can be performed by a professional cosmetologist in a salon or barbershop, or at home with at-home relaxer kits designed for individual use.

Relaxers are applied to the base of the hair shaft and left in place for a “cooking” interval, during which the relaxer alters the hair’s texture by purposefully damaging the hair’s natural protein structure. Retreatment is usually required every 4-8 weeks.

Hair relaxers contain hormonally active and carcinogenic compounds, such as phthalates, known to cause endocrine disruption, are not listed separately as ingredients but, instead, are often broadly lumped into the “fragrance” or “perfume” categories.

Phthalates are particularly harmful to the human body because they are endocrine-disrupting-chemicals (EDCs). The endocrine system is involved in the production and circulation of hormones such as estrogen. EDCs interfere with the normal activity of the endocrine system. EDCs disrupt the endocrine system and interfere with the body’s hormonal homeostasis in various ways.

Uterine Fibroids

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 around the time of menopause to more than 80% of African-American women by age 50.  It is crazy how few people asked why uterine fibroids are more common in women.

Fibroids result from an overgrowth of muscle cells in the uterus.  Most are harmless.  Approximately one-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 deal to women, especially young women looking to have children.

With young women in the reproductive age range, their fibroids often gradually will continue to increase and grow. When they get large enough, they can cause definite symptoms. The symptoms can be pain, excessive bleeding with their periods, and, as we discuss below, can be anemia from that excessive bleeding.  Women with uterine fibriod often feel pressure on their rectum and bladder

One symptom you often see in women with uterine fibrosis is their waist line gets larger.  That is not a nice way of saying they are putting on weight.  It is just their waist line like they were pregnant.

Uterine Fibroids and Anemia

Women with uterine fibroids often have heavy menstrual cycles.  This excessive uterine bleeding often causes low blood counts.  This causes anemia.  Anemic patients do not have enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the tissues. So if this is a symptom, your doctor will often order blood work with a complete blood count (CBC). That test measures the patient’s hemoglobin and hematocrit.

Hemoglobin carries oxygen to the cells. Hematocrit is the portion of your blood volume that is made up of red blood cells. If an individual looses an excessive amount of blood during the menstrual cycle, this abnormal loss of blood volume each month will be reflected in a decreased hemoglobin and hematocrit.

Chemicals in Hair Relaxer Can Cause Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are muscle tumors that form in the wall of the uterus. Uterine fibroids are not cancerous, the tumors are almost always benign. However, uterine fibroids can be very painful and cause bleeding. Treatment for painful uterine fibroids typically involves surgery to remove them.

Black women in the U.S. are disproportionately impacted by uterine fibroids compared to other racial groups. Black women are three times more likely to develop uterine fibroids compared to white women. Moreover, uterine fibroids in Black women occur much earlier compared to other racial groups. Black women tend to develop uterine fibroids in the their 20s rather than their 30s.

A well established body of scientific research has determined that the high rate of uterine fibroids among Black women in the U.S. appears to be connected to the use of chemical hair relaxer products. The most significant study on this subject appeared in 2012 in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Lauren A. Wise, et al., Hair Relaxer Use and Risk of Uterine Leiomyomata in African-American Women, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 175, Issue 5, 1 March 2012.

This study looked at health records from over 23,000 pre-menopausal African American women from 1997 to 2009. The study results clearly showed that women who regularly used chemical hair relaxers (particularly beginning at an early age) displayed a significantly increased risk for developing uterine fibroids compared to those who did not use relaxer.

A subsequent study on the connection between hair relaxer and uterine fibroids was was published in Environmental Research in 2018. This study measured the concentration of chemicals found in 18 different hair perm or hair relaxer 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 Relaxer

Research has shown that use of chemical hair relaxer is also connected to other female cancers including uterine cancer and breast cancer. A University of Oxford study published in 2021 found that black woman who used chemical hair relaxer a minimum of 7 times per year for 15-years or longer had a 30% increase in the risk of developing breast cancer.

That is a strong correlation, right?  But the connection between hair 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 uterine cancer risk increased by 100% from long term use of chemical hair relaxer.

DEHP

Di-2- ethyl hexyl phthalate (“DEHP”) is a synthetic phthalate chemical that is used in all hair straightener or relaxer products to make them stick to the scalp and absorb into the hair. DEHP is an EDC that is known to cause signficant disruption of the hormone system. When absorbed into the body, DEHP breaks down into various metabolites. Some of these unique DEHP metabolites are very harmful.

How long have we known DEHP can cause cancer?  On January 1, 1988, the Governor of California added DEHP to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer.  So this snuck up on no one. The key is were women using this product informed of the risk?  Of course they were not.

Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

Product liability lawsuits against the cosmetic companies that manufacture these hair relaxer products are now being brought by women across the country. The first hair relaxer lawsuit was filed in Chicago in October 2022.  Eigtht more hair relaxer cancer lawsuits were filed in the following weeks and thousands more are expected.

So far, all of these lawsuits have been uterine cancer cases. The plaintiffs allege that they developed uterine cancer are years of regularly using chemical hair relaxers. The primary defendants named in these cases included\ international cosmetic companies like L’Oreal and Revlon.

L’Oreal makes Dark & Lovely®, which is the most popular hair relaxer product on the market. Revlon makes a leading brand of professional hair relaxer used in salons. A host of other small companies that make hair relaxer products have also been named as defendants.

Potential Settlement Amounts for Hair Relaxer Uterine Fibroid Cases

We need to preface this section by pointing out that the hair relaxer lawsuits are just started to get filed, so any settlement values are purely speculative. The scientific evidence in these cases is literally still emerging and it is not clear whether it will be admissible in court. The settlement payout estimate below is based on a number of very significant assumptions.

Assuming the causation evidence in these cases withstands legal challenges, our attorneys believe that hair relaxer lawsuits involving uterine fibroids as the primary injury could have a potential settlements could be between $150,000 to $500,000 depending on the severity of the injuries. Jury payouts could be in the millions of dollars.  Why the difference?  There will likely be hair relaxer class action lawsuit.  If there is a settlement in a class action, it is usually a compromise that is less than what you would expect a jury to award.

The causation evidence linking uterine fibroids to hair relaxer is strong. So, while it is early in the hair relaxer lawsuits, these should be solid cases.  The only reason that our settlement payout estimate is not higher is because uterine fibroids are not life threatening. In many cases they can be very painful and require surgery and those are the cases that will be on the high end of the settlement compensation range.

Contact Us About a Hair Relaxer Uterine Fibroid Lawsuit

Our law firm is assisting victim who want to file a uterine fibroid lawsuits against the makers of hair relaxers and hair perms and hair relaxer products because they caused uterine fibroids. If you used 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.

 

 

 

 

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