Hair Straighteners and Cancer: Can You File a Lawsuit?

Imagine learning that a product you’ve used and trusted for years has given you cancer. This is the plight of hundreds of US women who have been diagnosed with uterine cancer. What’s to blame for their cancer? Chemical hair straighteners. Recent studies have revealed a concerning link between certain hair straighteners and uterine cancer, detonating an explosion of lawsuits. 

If you’ve used these products and are suffering from uterine cancer or another reproductive condition, you might wonder whether you’re eligible to sue as well. Please contact our lawyers to find out what legal options you may have. 

A woman with straightened hair, representing the connection between hair relaxers and cancer.

What’s the Link Between Uterine Cancer & Hair Straighteners?

Research suggests there’s a link between certain hair straighteners and an increased risk of uterine cancer. In particular, products that contain formaldehyde are the ones that cause health problems. 

Formaldehyde is a chemical that’s used in hair straightening products as a smoothing agent. However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen. That means it can cause cancer. Read more here.

It’s also a respiratory irritant. Inhaling too much of it can cause breathing issues like asthma. It’s also absorbed through the skin, and it can enter the bloodstream. 

Uterine Cancer/Hair Straighteners Research

Recent studies have investigated the health effects of prolonged or repeated exposure to formaldehyde. Here’s what current research has found: 

  • A 2019 study by the National Cancer Institute found that hair straightener products increased the risk of cancer by 9%. 
  • A 2022 National Institute of Health study found that using hair straighteners for at least 5 years doubles the risk of cancer for women. It also reported a link between hair straighteners and other reproductive health conditions. These conditions include preterm birth, uterine fibroids, and early puberty. 
  • In the general population, uterine cancer is rare. There is about a 1.6% chance a woman will develop this disease by the age of 70. But the 2022 NIH study revealed that the risk of uterine cancer goes up to 4% for frequent users of hair relaxers. That’s a big difference! 

Black Women are at Higher Risk for Uterine Cancer

The 2022 NIH study revealed that Black women have higher rates of uterine cancer. This correlates with the fact that hair straightener products are marketed toward black women. Their main use is to straighten naturally curly hair. 

Most women are unaware that the straightening products they’ve used for years are harmful. And it’s not because they’re not reading the labels carefully. Some products have been found to contain formaldehyde or other harmful chemicals without listing these ingredients on their labels. Others do list these chemicals, but consumers don’t recognize them as harmful. 

Which Products Are Harmful?

To pinpoint the products that might cause you harm, look for the following formaldehyde-related chemicals:

  • Formalin
  • Formaldehyde
  • Methylene glycol
  • Methanal
  • Methanediol
  • Formaldehyde monohydrate

Also, some hair straighteners may contain chemicals that release formaldehyde when heated. These include decamethyl-cyclopentasiloxane, timonacic acid, and dimethoxymethane.

A woman sitting resiliently, embodying strength and courage as she faces her battle with cancer.

Uterine Cancer Hair Straighteners Lawsuits

After studies showing the link between hair straighteners and cancer were published in 2022, women all over the US began filing lawsuits.

The bottom line is that research suggests there’s an association between hair straighteners and uterine cancer. But manufacturers of these products are quick to deny it. Revlon, a company named in uterine cancer hair straighteners lawsuits, told Reuters, “We do not believe the science supports a link between chemical hair straighteners or relaxers and cancer.”

Hair straightening products named in current lawsuits include: 

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

As of 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering placing a ban on hair straighteners that contain formaldehyde or release it when heated. Read more about it here.

An image displaying the definition of cancer.

Who is Eligible for the Hair Straighteners/Uterine Cancer Lawsuit? 

To qualify for potential compensation via a malpractice lawsuit against manufacturers of hair straightening products, the following must be true:

  • You have used chemical hair straightening products for a prolonged period of time (four years or more). 
  • You have been diagnosed with uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, uterine fibroids, or certain other reproductive health conditions. 

If you believe you meet the criteria above, gather your medical records and contact our personal injury lawyers. If you have a viable case, we’ll help you submit a hair product liability claim.