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.
We may know why. New scientific research shows that a contributing cause to uterine cancer and uterine fibroids in Black women may be the chemicals in hair relaxers. Lawsuits are now being brought by women who used hair relaxer products and developed uterine fibroids. In 2023, there is now a hair relaxer class action lawsuit that is easy for you to join.
Our hair relaxer lawyers are 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.
- Hair Relaxer Uterine Cancer Lawsuit
- Hair Relaxer Breast Cancer Lawsuit
- Hair Relaxer Endometriosis Lawsuit
- Uterine Fibroid Lawsuit Video
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, 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. 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, they are not listed separately as ingredients but are often broadly lumped into the “fragrance” or “perfume” categories.
Phthalates are harmful to the human body because they are endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The endocrine system is involved in producing and circulating hormones such as estrogen. EDCs interfere with the regular activity of the endocrine system. EDCs disrupt the endocrine system and interfere with the body’s hormonal homeostasis in various ways.
Uterine fibroids are common solid tumors in women. Estimates of the prevalence of uterine fibroids vary. They range 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 Black 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 will often gradually 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 discussed below, anemia from that excessive bleeding. Women with uterine fibroid often feel pressure on their rectum and bladder
One symptom you often see in women with uterine fibrosis is their waistline gets larger. That is not a nice way of saying they are putting on weight. It is just their waistline can look like they are 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 made up of red blood cells. If an individual loses excessive blood during the menstrual cycle, this abnormal loss of blood volume each month will be reflected in 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.
Uterine fibroids disproportionately impact black women in the U.S. compared to other racial groups. Black women are three times more likely to develop uterine fibroids than white women. Moreover, Black women’s uterine fibroids occur much earlier than other racial groups. Black women tend to develop uterine fibroids in their 20s rather than their 30s.
American Journal of Epidemiology Study
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 important 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.
The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, investigated the possible association between hair relaxer use and the risk of developing uterine fibroids in African American women, using data from the Black Women’s Health Study.
This study looked at health records from over 23,000 pre-menopausal African American women between the ages of 21 and 69 from 1997 to 2009 with no history of uterine fibroids. The study results showed that women who regularly used chemical hair relaxers (particularly beginning at an early age) displayed a significantly increased risk of developing uterine fibroids compared to those who did not use relaxers.
The study found that African American women who used hair relaxers were more likely to develop uterine fibroids than those who did not use hair relaxers. Women who used hair relaxers at least seven times a year had a 1.4 times higher risk of developing uterine fibroids than those who did not use hair relaxers. The study also found that the risk of developing fibroids increased with the frequency and duration of hair relaxer use.
Breaking those numbers down a bit, the study also found that the risk of developing fibroids increased with the frequency of hair relaxer use. Women who used hair relaxers every two to four weeks had a 1.23 times higher risk of developing fibroids, while women who used hair relaxers every one to two weeks had a 1.52 times higher risk.
Journal of Women’s Health Study in 2016
The Journal of Women’s Health study from 2016 investigated the potential link between hair relaxer use and uterine fibroids in African American women using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
This was a big study. It included 23,580 women between the ages of 20 and 39 who participated in the NHANES survey between 1999 and 2002. The participants completed a questionnaire about their hair care practices, including their use of hair relaxers, and also underwent a physical examination to determine if they had uterine fibroids.
The study found that African American women who reported using hair relaxers had a higher prevalence of uterine fibroids than those who did not use hair relaxers. Specifically, the study found that women who used hair relaxers had a 1.4 times higher odds of having fibroids than those who did not use hair relaxers.
The study also found what we are seeing from hair relaxer lawsuit clients – there appears to be a dose-response relationship between hair relaxer use and fibroids, meaning that the more frequently and for more extended periods women used hair relaxers, the higher their risk of fibroids.
Environmental Research Study in 2018
A subsequent cross-sectional survey study on the connection between hair relaxers and uterine fibroids was published in Environmental Research in 2018. This study of 319 African American women from the gynecology clinic of a hospital in Detroit, Michigan.. The study measured the concentration of chemicals found in 18 hair perm or hair relaxer products. The study found that the products contained numerous undisclosed toxic chemicals. (What is maddening is that many of these chemicals were banned in the EU.)
The participants were surveyed about their hair care practices, including their use of hair relaxers, and were also given an ultrasound exam to determine if they had uterine fibroids. The study found that women who reported using hair relaxers were more likely to have fibroids than those who did not use hair relaxers. Specifically, women who used hair relaxers had a 1.4 times higher odds of having fibroids than those who did not use hair relaxers. The study also found a potential dose-response relationship between hair relaxer use and fibroids. Sounds like a broken record, right? More exposure to the products – as some Black women have all of their lives – meant a higher risk of fibroids from these chemicals.
Cancer Causes & Control Study in 2018
Uterine Fibrosis Linked to Hair Relaxer
Research has shown that chemical hair relaxers are also connected to other female cancers, including uterine and breast cancer. A University of Oxford study published in 2021 found that black women who used chemical hair relaxers 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 relaxers and uterine cancer is even stronger. In October 2022, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a major new study that concluded that uterine cancer risk increased by 100% from long-term use of chemical hair relaxers.
Di-2- ethyl hexyl phthalate (“DEHP”) is a synthetic phthalate chemical 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 significant 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: 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. Eight 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. Many other small companies making hair relaxer products have also been named 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 still emerging, and it is unclear whether it will be admissible in court. The settlement payout estimate below is based on several 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 settlement 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 a hair relaxer class action lawsuit. If there is a settlement in a class action, a compromise is usually less than what you would expect a jury to award.
The causation evidence linking uterine fibroids to hair relaxers 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 that 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.
Example Uterine Fibroids Lawsuit
Last month, Keiara Gamble and Shaquita Davis became the first plaintiffs to file hair relaxer lawsuits alleging uterine fibroids and endometriosis as the primary injuries. Gamble filed her case in the Southern District of Georgia (Gamble v. L’Oreal, et al. 4:22-cv-256).
She was diagnosed with uterine fibroids at the age of 22 and underwent surgery to have them removed. During the removal surgery, she was also diagnosed with endometriosis. Gamble used various hair relaxer products, including ORS Olive Oil and Motions, from 1994 to 2012. Davis filed her case in the Northern District of Illinois (Davis v. L’Oreal, et al. 1:22-cv-6560). She was diagnosed with uterine fibroids and endometriosis after using hair relaxer products for 30 years.
Contact Us About a Hair Relaxer Uterine Fibroid Lawsuit
Our law firm assists victims who want to file a uterine fibroid lawsuit against the makers of hair relaxers, hair perms, and hair relaxer products because they caused uterine fibroids. If you 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.