Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuits

Results achieved in prior matters are not meant to be a guarantee of success as the facts and legal circumstances vary from matter to matter.

In late 2022, the National Institute of Health (NIH) completely shook the cosmetics industry when it revealed that repeated use of chemical relaxers had been tied to an increased risk of female reproductive cancers. Chemical hair relaxers have been the go-to for women looking to straighten their hair for decades, with many women using them from childhood well into their adult years.

Attorneys nationwide are currently pursuing damages on behalf of injured women, arguing that cosmetic companies should be held accountable for repeatedly exposing them to toxic chemicals that pose major health risks. If you believe you have suffered adverse health effects after prolonged use of hair relaxers, contact us as soon as possible. 

The Link Between Cancer in Women and Repeated Hair Relaxer Use

Researchers analyzed data collected from over 33,000 women in a nationwide public health effort known as the Sister Study. The study seeks to screen participants for risk factors for conditions such as breast and uterine cancer. They examined data collected over a period of 10 years to find a causal link between chemical hair relaxer use and uterine cancer, and found that frequent hair relaxer use increased women’s risk of developing uterine cancer by 2½ times. They determined that chemical hair relaxers contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that, after repeated exposure, increase cancer risk.

Soon after the NIH published its study, women across the country began filing lawsuits against large cosmetic companies such as L’Oreal. At the time of this writing, there are more than 120 pending hair relaxer lawsuits. 

Timeline of Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuits

In late October 2022, shortly after the publication of the NIH’s landmark study, Missouri resident Jenny Mitchel filed a lawsuit against several cosmetic firms in a Chicago federal court. Her claim argued that hair relaxers sold by the defendants contained dangerous chemicals that caused her to develop uterine cancer. 

    • November 16, 2022 - Hair relaxer cancer lawsuit lawyers representing several plaintiffs filed to have their lawsuits consolidated into an MDL (multidistrict litigation).
    • November 26, 2022 - Plaintiffs filed another hair relaxer lawsuit in Michigan that would compel cosmetic companies to pay for a medical program that would monitor the health of the plaintiffs and allow them to take early action if they detected female reproductive cancers.
    • December 8, 2022 - A new lawsuit in the Southern District of Georgia claims that repeated exposure to hair relaxers caused the plaintiff to develop uterine fibroids. It is the first to connect chemical hair relaxers to uterine fibroids.
    • December 9, 2022 - Defendants named in the still pending MDL oppose the compilation of hair cancer relaxer lawsuits into MDL.
    • January 27, 2022 - The US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) holds a hearing on whether to create a new mass tort lawsuit against several cosmetic firms while the number of new hair cancer relaxer lawsuits steadily increases.
    • February 6, 2023 - The JPML approves the creation of a new hair relaxer MDL and sets Illinois as the venue with District Court Judge Mary Rowland presiding.
    • March 2, 2023 - MDL Judge Mary Rowland holds a status conference in Chicago.
    • March 16, 2023 - The number of pending cases in the hair relaxer cancer MDL reaches 78.

Hair Relaxer MDL Updates and Pending Litigation

All hair relaxer claims have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Illinois. Mass torts are similar to class action lawsuits, as they involve numerous plaintiffs bringing an action against one or multiple defendants in state or federal court. When approved by the United States Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML), there were over 60 pending cases. As per a Case Management Order published on February 6, 2023, the MDL would have one steering committee, and Judge Rowland would later name a liaison and lead counsel. The first status conference on the hair relaxer MDL held on March 2 yielded several results:

  1. Plaintiffs would have to meet and jointly file a combined hair relaxer complaint
  2. Defendants were to receive a draft Direct Filing Order from the PLC on or before March 13, 2023, and would be required to submit either proposals or an agreed-to proposal on or before March 31
  3. The plaintiffs agreed to convene and discuss how to handle probate matters, state and federal court coordination, electronic discovery, and a preservation and protection order

By March, the number of cases pending in federal court had increased to nearly 80 as more women nationwide filed suit. Given the number of women who have used hair relaxers, it is expected that the number of lawsuits filed will reach the hundreds by the end of the year.

Cosmetic Brands Named in the New Hair Relaxer Class Action MDL

The following brands are named in the new hair relaxer cancer MDL:

  • Namaste by Dabur India, Ltd
  • Optimum by SoftSheen Carson
  • TCB Naturals by SoftSheen Carson
  • Motions by Strength of Global Nature
  • Just for Me by Soft Sheen Carson
  • Dark and Lovely bu L’Oreal
  • Olive Oil Girls by Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Hair Care
  • Soft and Beautiful by L’Oreal

Compensation in a Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit

If you have a history of using chemical hair relaxers/straighteners and have been diagnosed with a health issue such as uterine cancer or endometrial cancer, you may have a valid claim. Based on the severity of your health issues and the strength of your case, you may be entitled to the following compensatory damages:

Medical Expenses

Ideally, you should receive enough compensation to cover all of your past, present, and medical expenses. This includes:

  • Doctor visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery
  • Lab tests
  • Prescription medication
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Home care
  • Medical Transportation

Lost Wages and Lost Earning Potential

You may also be entitled to compensation for the wages you lost while you were dealing with health issues. If your poor health prevents you from working at full capacity for the foreseeable future, you may also receive compensation for your lost earning potential.

Pain and Suffering 

This damage is meant to compensate you for the physical and mental anguish you suffered due to your health and the treatment process. You may be entitled to pain and suffering damages if your condition left you with chronic pain, impacts your ability to take part in day-to-day activities, and has reduced your quality of life.

Physical Impairment and Disfigurement

You may receive this damage if your health condition has left you with physically impairing injuries that make it difficult for you to engage in activities you previously enjoyed prior to your diagnosis.

Wrongful Death Damages

If your loved one had a history of using hair relaxers and succumbed to breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer, you may be entitled to wrongful death damages. This damage covers burial and funeral costs, the cost of the deceased’s medical costs, the emotional distress of surviving loved ones, loss of companionship, and loss of financial contribution.

Contact Us Today to Speak to a Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit Attorney

Attorneys at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. are representing clients nationwide who have suffered a diagnosis of uterine or endometrial cancer following prolonged use of hair relaxers. We are experienced in defending the health and safety of consumers from unscrupulous manufacturers and dangerous products, and will provide the sensitivity and compassion victims deserve.

Have you or your loved one been diagnosed with cancer after using chemical hair relaxers for several years? You may have a valid claim. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.


Lynne M. Kizis Photo

Lynne M. Kizis
Co-Chair, Mass Tort/Class Action Team