Who Is Eligible For The Hair Straightener Lawsuit? – Forbes

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When someone chooses a beauty product or treatment, their worst fear may be that the treatment won’t work or won’t look the way they intended it to. People do not typically consider beauty treatments to be dangerous.

However, evidence seems to point to the fact that people who have used chemical hair straighteners or hair relaxers have a higher risk of developing some cancers. There is currently an active mass tort lawsuit with over 8,000 plaintiffs against manufacturers of these products. If you’ve been harmed by a hair straightener or relaxer, you may be eligible to join the lawsuit. Here’s what you need to know.

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What Is the Hair Straightener Lawsuit About?

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Chemical hair straighteners have been in use in the United States for over 100 years. Over that time, a variety of different chemicals have been used to relax and straighten hair. Initially, industrial cleaning chemicals were used.

By the 1970s, lye was the primary chemical used in straighteners. However, lye can cause scalp irritation for some users. In the 1980s, the first no-lye relaxer was introduced. These products tended to be less irritating than the lye version, although they were more likely to dry hair out.

Lye and no-lye hair straighteners are still in use today. Since no-lye formulas are gentler on the scalp, they make up the majority of home treatments. Both lye and no-lye formulas are used in salon treatments.

After decades of use, in 2022, a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found a positive correlation between use of chemical hair straighteners and diagnoses of uterine cancer. People who used hair relaxers more than four times a year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer as people who never used chemical straighteners. In 2023, a 25-year study was released that supported the connection between the use of chemical hair relaxers and uterine cancer.

The first lawsuit against hair relaxer manufacturers began in 2022. In 2023, all open cases were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation or MDL. In this type of lawsuit, the plaintiffs share much of the pretrial activities, such as discovery, but each case receives its own verdict. Within the same MDL, it’s possible for some plaintiffs to win their case and others to lose.


What Are the Risks of Chemical Hair Straighteners?

Chemical hair relaxers contain ingredients that are known to be endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs mimic or disrupt hormonal processes within the body. This can lead to a number of health risks, including reproductive cancers.

Some of the chemicals that have been indicated as EDCs are:

  • Parabens
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Formaldehyde
  • Heavy metals

A concerning study conducted by the New York State Department of Health found the presence of formaldehyde in some hair straightening products that advertised themselves as being formaldehyde-free. This points to the possibility that even those people who thought they were getting a safer hair straightening product may have been exposed to these EDCs.

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Who Can Join the Hair Straightener Lawsuit?

To bring a hair relaxer lawsuit, you need to prove that actual harm occurred. This means that you cannot bring a lawsuit unless you’ve been injured. Just increasing your risk of reproductive cancer is not enough to bring a lawsuit. You must have actually been hurt.

You must be diagnosed with a medical condition concerning the female reproductive system.

Many of the people in the MDL have been diagnosed with some sort of female reproductive cancer. This category includes:

  • Uterine cancer. This is the diagnosis that currently has the greatest amount of scientific evidence. Multiple studies have shown that the most frequent users of chemical hair straightening products are at an increased risk of developing uterine cancer.
  • Ovarian cancer. A study run from 2003 to 2009 found that people who used chemical hair straighteners were more likely to develop ovarian cancer than those who did not use them. Formaldehyde, in particular, was a chemical of concern in this study.
  • Other reproductive cancer. People who have developed endometrial or breast cancer may also be eligible to join this lawsuit.

Some attorneys are also representing clients who have been diagnosed with endometriosis, which is a condition where uterine cells grow outside the uterus, and uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous uterine growths that can lead to infertility.

You Must Have a History of Exposure to Chemical Hair Relaxer Use

It’s unlikely that using chemical hair straighteners once or twice will cause cancer. The plaintiffs with the highest chance of success in this sort of case will be people who used these products frequently over a long period of time. Studies have shown that people who use these products four or more times a year have a greater chance of developing reproductive cancer. People who apply these products to others are also at risk.

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You Must Be Within the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations refers to how long you have to bring a lawsuit after you have been injured. In MDLs, the statute of limitations generally corresponds with the place where the injury occurred or the place where the lawsuit was initially filed.

This means that there may be different statutes of limitations for different plaintiffs in the same MDL. Some states’ statutes of limitations are as short as one year, and some are as long as six years. In addition, some states do not start the clock on the statute of limitations until an injury is discovered or ought to have been discovered.

Speak with an attorney who is experienced in MDLs and mass tort lawsuits to find out what the statute of limitations is in your case. Although it may seem like a cut-and-dry fact, multiple factors can affect the statute of limitations for your own case. The only way to find out how it applies to you is by speaking with an attorney.


Is It Too Late to Join?

It is not too late to join the chemical hair straightener lawsuit, assuming that you are within the statute of limitations. The MDL is still accepting new cases. If you have been injured by a chemical hair straightening product, now is the time to consult with an attorney and discuss your options.

Diagnosed With Cancer After Using Chemical Hair Straighteners?

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Hair Straightener Lawsuits

Which hair relaxer manufacturers are involved in the MDL?

As of now, the list of manufacturers named in the MDL includes:

  • L’ Oréal
  • Dabur
  • Namaste
  • Strength of Nature
  • Revlon
  • SoftSheen-Carson
  • Godrej
  • Dermoviva
  • JF Labs
  • PDC Brands
  • McBride
  • House of Cheatham
  • Luster
  • Sally Beauty

How much does it cost to join the hair straightener cancer lawsuit?

Most attorneys for these types of cases work on a contingency basis. This means that they do not require payment unless you receive a settlement or a verdict in your favor. Make sure that you understand the fee structure and what percentage your lawyer may be entitled to before you sign a contract.

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