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Chemical Hair Straightener Linked to Higher Risk of Uterine Cancer

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the usage of chemical hair straightener products multiple times in a single year is associated with an increased risk of developing uterine cancer.

The study, which was published in Oct. 2022, found women who used chemical hair straighteners at least five times in the previous year had a 2x greater risk of developing uterine cancer than women who didn’t use the products.

Typically, women have around a 1.64% chance of developing uterine cancer by the time they turn 70 years old. But women who used chemical hair straighteners at least five times in a single year have a 4.05% risk of developing uterine cancer by that age, according to the NIH study.

Proposed FDA Ruling Would Ban Chemical Hair Straighteners and Relaxers

In October 2023, a report in USA Today revealed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was considering a regulatory proposal to prohibit the use of formaldehyde and similar chemicals in hair straightening and relaxing products due to their known association with cancer risks. In turn, this ruling would ban many hair straightener and relaxer products currently on the market.

For this ban to become official, the FDA is required to solicit public input before making any decisions, which may involve revising the proposed rule or ultimately issuing a final rule.

Additionally, in March 2023, Representatives Ayanna Presley of Massachusetts and Shontel Brown of Ohio reached out to Robert Califf, the FDA commissioner, urging the agency to investigate the potential link between chemical hair straighteners and relaxers and an elevated cancer risk.

Black Women Are Disproportionately Affected by This Risk

The NIH’s study followed more than 33,000 women for nearly 11 years. Of those women, 60% self-identify as Black women. An author of the study says that the study’s findings are particularly relevant to Black women due to their more frequent usage of chemical hair straighteners compared to women of other races and ethnicities.

In addition, while the rates of uterine cancer are increasing in all women, with nearly 66,000 new cases estimated in 2022 alone, Black women are seeing the highest increase in this type of cancer.

There is some hopeful news for people affected by these products, as lawsuits were consolidated into a new class action MDL (multi-district litigation) in federal court in February 2023. This will allow for a more streamlined process to help victims and their families file their cases in court and get the help and compensation they deserve.

Chemical Hair Straighteners May Cause Cancer by Disrupting Hormones

Chemical hair straighteners contain certain substances and chemicals that can disrupt hormones. These substances and chemicals include parabens, bisphenol A, metals, and formaldehyde. When hormone production and levels in the body are disrupted, it can increase the risk of certain types of cancer, especially those involving the reproductive system.

Because chemical hair straighteners are known to cause abrasions and inflammation of the scalp, the substances and chemicals in these products are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream of women who use them.

Cancer Diagnosis After Using Chemical Hair Straighteners? We’re Here to Help.

Women shouldn’t have to worry about long-term health problems, including cancer, when they use everyday products like chemical hair straighteners. Unfortunately, that’s the reality for countless women in the U.S.

Chemical hair straighteners are still on store shelves, and they’re in the bathrooms of millions of women nationwide. Our law firm believes the potential health problems these women are facing are unacceptable, and we’re holding the manufacturers of these dangerous products accountable.

Contact our lawyers today to find out how we can help if you or someone you love were diagnosed with uterine cancer after using chemical hair straighteners.