Campaign to Recall Hair Relaxers and Perm Kits With Toxic Chemicals Launched By Activist Group

A petition calls for Giant Food to remove toxic hair relaxers from its shelves after talks between the retailer and a racial justice activist group broke down.

  • Hair relaxers and perm kits like "Dark & Lovely", "Just for Me" and others remain on store shelves, despite recent studies that found they may increase the risk of cancer
  • Activists are calling for retailers to recall hair relaxers with the toxic chemicals from their stores
  • Petition comes as thousands of women are pursuing hair relaxer lawsuits against manufacturers over development of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and other injuries
  • LEARN MORE ABOUT HAIR RELAXER LAWSUITS

A racial justice group is calling for cosmetics manufacturers to remove hair relaxer and perm products from the market that contain toxic ingredients, which have been linked to a risk of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and other side effects.

Color of Change is a progressive non-profit advocacy group, which has launched an online petition calling for consumers to pressure a major retailer, Giant Food, to require only non-toxic hair relaxer products and perm kits be sold in its stores. The group indicates its campaign will put similar pressure on other major retailers as well.

The petition comes amid a growing number of hair relaxer cancer lawsuits filed in recent months, each raising similar allegations that the manufactures knew that chemicals in their hair relaxers may cause cancer, fibroids and other devastating injuries. However, rather than warning about the potential risk, manufacturers continued to aggressively market the relaxers and perms, specifically targeting young Black children, creating generations of devoted customers who did not know they were exposing themselves to an increased risk of cancer.

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Color Change claims hair relaxer manufacturers took advantage of racial bias against Black women’s naturally curly hair, selling them harsh and toxic products and endangering their health for profit.

“Ultimately, the hair care industry built its multi-billion-dollar empire on the pressure that Black women face to adhere to Eurocentric beauty standards and have used some deceptive marketing strategies to convince our communities to purchase harmful products,” the petition states. “Around 50% of products marketed to Black women contain hormone-disrupting chemicals. And many of the Black models featured on the relaxer packaging recently shared that they never had chemically treated hair.”

The petition’s statement to Giant Food executives demands they conduct an audit of all toxic straightening products and recall hair relaxers linked with negative health effects from their stores’ shelves. The group says it decided on the petition following talks with Giant executives, which failed to get the retailer to change its policies.

Hair Relaxer Cancer Risks

In recent years, studies have been published that make a connection between the use of hair relaxers and cancer, raising concerns about the wide spread use of the products by Black and other minority women throughout the U.S.

In October 2022, researchers published findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which warned that ingredients used in the chemical hair straighteners may cause uterine cancer. Researchers found the rate of uterine cancer was nearly three times greater among women who frequently used hair relaxer chemicals, compared to women who never used the products.

Researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health reviewed data on nearly 34,000 women in the United States between the ages of 35 and 74, who completed questionnaires on their use of multiple hair products, including hair dyes, straighteners, relaxers, or pressing products, and permanents or body waves. A 10 year follow-up on the incident rate of uterine cancer diagnosis was performed.

According to the results, researchers identified 378 uterine cancer cases, finding participants who used hair straightening products at least once had the highest rate of uterine cancer diagnosis compared to any other hair products involved in the study. They also had a higher rate of uterine cancer when compared to women who used no hair straightener products.

February 2023 Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Update

As more women learn that their long-term use of hair relaxer may be the cause of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and other injuries linked to these endocrine disrupting chemicals, a growing number of hair relaxer cancer lawsuits are expected to be filed throughout 2023 and potentially years to come.

Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints already pending throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) recently heard oral arguments to determine whether all lawsuits over hair relaxers and cancer should be centralized before one judge for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

If consolidated pretrial proceedings are established, it is likely the presiding judge will plan to hold “bellwether” test trials, which could help parties reach a settlement agreement. However, if the parties fail to reach a settlement, each case may be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for a separate trial date in the future.

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Lawyers provide free claim evaluations to help women diagnosed with uterine cancer or ovarian cancer determine whether they may be eligible for a hair relaxer lawsuit settlement.

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3 Comments

  • ReginaDecember 2, 2023 at 12:36 am

    I think this law suit is crazy. I think someone is looking for a payday. Alcohol and Cigarettes both cause cancer and nobody is banning either of them. It should be left up to the consumer. Just like it's lefts to the consumer to decide if they drunk or smoke.

  • LydiaOctober 18, 2023 at 10:44 am

    I have been using ORS or Olive Oil Perms for many, many years. Is this one of the products being recalled?

  • JackieSeptember 9, 2023 at 12:40 am

    fiboids hystromy in 2004

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