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Do Hair Straighteners Cause Cancer?

October 26, 2022

New research sheds light on whether hair straighteners cause cancer. A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported an increased risk of uterine cancer among people who use hair straightening chemicals or relaxers frequently. Previous studies have also linked to hair dye and hair straightening chemicals to breast cancer, finding a 60% increase in risk for women who use the products.

The attorneys at Coplan + Crane are investigating cases involving chemical hair straighteners. If you have used hair relaxers and have been diagnosed with uterine cancer, breast cancer, uterine fibroids, or endometriosis, contact our office online or at (708) 358-8080 for a free case evaluation. We may be able to help you recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Endocrine Disruptors: The Link Between Hair Relaxers and Cancer

When determining if hair straighteners cause cancer, it is crucial to understand endocrine disruptors. Certain toxic materials, including lye, formaldehyde, and phthalates such as DEHP have been used in hair relaxers for decades. These dangerous chemicals have been known to be endocrine disruptors, chemicals that may mimic or interfere with the body’s hormones. They are linked to numerous immune, reproductive, brain, and developmental problems.

Also referred to as endocrine-disrupting compounds, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or hormonally active agents, endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with endocrine or hormonal systems. They interfere with the action, binding, transport, secretion, synthesis, or elimination of natural hormones in the body that are responsible for fertility, behavior, development, and maintenance of homeostasis (normal cell metabolism). Endocrine disruptors can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders.

Conditions related to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) include:

  • Uterine cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Uterine tumors/fibroids
  • Endometriosis

Toxic chemicals in beauty products are often buried in the catch-all ingredient “fragrance.” The law does not require chemicals in fragrances to be identified separately. This has allowed major manufacturers to sell products containing dangerous chemicals without disclosing the materials or the risks involved. These companies should be held accountable for their actions. The attorneys at Coplan + Crane are investigating cases for potential litigation against manufacturers who have harmed consumers as a result of their negligence. 

What Harmful Chemicals Are Used in Hair Relaxers?

Some of the dangerous chemicals used in hair products include:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Metals
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Bisphenol A

Formaldehyde and heavy metals such as chromium, nickel, and arsenic are types of carcinogens that have been associated with the development of cancer.

Parabens, phthalates, and bisphenol A are classified as endocrine-disrupting compounds, meaning they may affect fertility and other hormone-sensitive body functions. 

It is also important to understand that endocrine disruptors can alter a person’s hormonal balance because inadequate or excessive hormone activity, including an excess of estrogen, can predispose individuals to certain diseases, including some cancers.

The High Cost Paid By Black Women

The question of whether hair straighteners cause cancer is of most importance to Black women because they suffer the consequences of cancer-causing chemicals in hair straightening products more than any other group. In the United States, Black consumers spend approximately $473 million on hair care products annually. Black women spend nine times more on ethnic hair products than non-Black consumers of both genders. Unfortunately, products designed for and marketed to Black women contain the highest levels of toxic and harmful ingredients.

Black women lead the world in hysterectomies. More than 200,000 procedures are performed every year. Of hysterectomies performed on Black women, the vast majority are due to fibroids. Black women are diagnosed with fibroids approximately three times more than white women. Black women also develop fibroids earlier in life and usually experience larger and more numerous fibroids that lead to more severe symptoms.

In the United States, more than 100,000 hysterectomies are performed every year for a primary diagnosis of endometriosis.

Additionally, Black women have a 31% breast cancer mortality rate – the highest of any U.S. racial or ethnic group.

What Compensation Is Available Through Potential Litigation?

If you used a chemical hair straightener or hair relaxer and have been diagnosed with uterine cancer, breast cancer, uterine fibroids, or endometriosis, you may be eligible for damages for your physical, financial, and emotional losses.

Depending on the details of your situation, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

If you lost a loved one to cancer, you may be able to seek compensation for funeral costs, lost benefits, and more in a wrongful death lawsuit. In your free case review, the attorneys at Coplan + Crane will assess the facts in your situation and help you understand your rights and legal options.

Contact a Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit Attorney in Chicago for Free

If you used chemical hair straighteners or hair relaxers and have been diagnosed with cancer or another medical condition, Coplan + Crane wants to hear your story. Our attorneys have built a reputation for excellence in complex matters of personal injury. We understand the law, science, and medicine involved in these cases and we are committed to helping our clients recover the maximum compensation to which they may be entitled under the law.

See our results.

Contact us today online or at (708) 358-8080 for a free case evaluation. We handle cases on a contingency basis, meaning you owe nothing unless we achieve a favorable outcome in your case. Coplan + Crane welcomes clients from Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas throughout Illinois and the United States.