Rate of Uterine Cancers Doubled with Frequent Use of Hair Straighteners
Contributed by Melissa Ephron – Collaborating Counsel
A new study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) finds that women who frequently use hair straightening products are twice as likely to develop uterine cancer compared to women who do not use these products. The Sister Study followed 33,497 US women for 11 years. During the period in which the participants were followed, 378 of the participants were diagnosed with uterine cancer. The researchers found that 1.64% of women who never used hair straighteners would go on to develop uterine cancer before age 70, compared to 4.05% of women who used straighteners frequently (defined as more than 4 times a year). Dr. Alexander White, Ph.D. noted that “the double of the risk is concerning.”
The hair straightening products at issue, often called perms or relaxers, are most frequently used by African American women. In fact, while African American women comprised just 7.4% of those in the study, they accounted for 60% of those who reported using a hair straightening product the previous year. The study did not find that the relationship between chemical hair straighteners and uterine cancer was different by race, only the commonality of use.
Researchers have identified a number of known carcinogens or endocrine disrupters in these products, including chemicals such parabens, bisphenol A, cyclosiloxanes, diethanolamine, metals, and formaldehyde. In addition, higher percutaneous absorption of chemicals has been observed in the scalp compared with other skin. Heating processes used during straightening treatments could also release or thermally decompose chemicals from the products, leading to potential higher exposures to hazardous chemicals.
What is Uterine Cancer?
According to the National Cancer Institute, uterine cancer is relatively rare, accounting for just 3% of all new cancers. The most common type of uterine cancer is endometrial cancer, which occurs in the inner lining of the uterus. That being said, uterine cancer cases are on the rise in the United States, especially among African American women.
A lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for Northern Illinois against several of the makers of the chemical straighteners and hair relaxers, including L’Oréal, SoftSheen Carson, Strength of Nature, Dabur, and Namaste Laboratories. The lawsuit alleges that the companies knew, or should have known, that their products increased the risk of cancer but manufactured and distributed them anyway, while giving no warning to consumers that they carried such risks. The lawsuit also claims that the companies misrepresented their products as safe. For example, Strength of Nature, which markets Soft & Beautiful, has sold products that use descriptions such as “botanicals” and “ultra-nourishing.”
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Our Injury Lawyers Can Help
At Jenner Law, a large portion of our practice is dedicated to fighting for the rights of victims injured by defective, cancer-causing products. We understand the impact that these harmful products can have on victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with uterine cancer after using hair straightening products, you may be entitled to compensation. To schedule a free consultation with a highly skilled injury lawyer, please call our office at 888-324-8275 today.