Lawsuit Alleges Just for Me and Other Hair Relaxers Caused Uterine Cancer, Fibroids and Hysterectomy

Despite the potential risk of uterine cancer, uterine fibroids and other reproductive problems, hair relaxer products like Just for Me, Olive Oil Girls and others are marketed towards young Black children, the lawsuit notes.

  • Just for Me and other hair relaxers have been marketed toward children and Black women as safe hair straighteners
  • Studies have found that chemicals in the hair relaxers and perms may increase the risk of uterine cancer, fibroids and other side effects
  • Plaintiff indicates that she began using hair relaxer when she was only seven years old
  • Claim will likely be consolidated with other Just for Me lawsuits, Dark & Lovely lawsuits and other hair relaxer lawsuits being pursued in the federal court system

A product liability lawsuit indicates a Tennessee woman developed uterine cancer, uterine fibroids and ultimately had to undergo a hysterectomy, after regularly using Just for Me and other chemical hair relaxers since she was seven years old.

Michelle N. Wray filed the complaint (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on December 15, presenting claims against the makers of eight different hair relaxers she used at various times since she was a child, including Just for Me, Olive Oil Girls, Dark & Lovely, Motions, TCB Naturals, Optimium, Soft & Beautiful and Organic Root Stimulator.

The lawsuit alleges that the chemical hair straighteners contain toxic chemicals that are known to increase the risk of uterine cancer and uterine fibroids. However, manufacturers marketed the relaxers and perms without warnings, and specifically targeted 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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Wray indicates she began using hair relaxer products in 1985, when she was only seven years old. The lawsuit points out that Just for Me, Olive Oil Girls and other products were specifically marketed for use by children.

“In the 1990s, the first relaxer product for young Black girls, Just for Me, hit the market with a catchy advertising jingle that captured consumer attention. It soon became one of the most popular straightening treatments, touting a no-lye formula designed to be gentler for children’s sensitive scalps,” Wray’s lawsuit states. “Once relaxer use begins in childhood, it usually becomes a lifetime habit.”

Wray indicates she regularly applied the hair relaxer to her scalp or had the perms at a professional salon throughout her life, leaving the chemicals on her hair for the time allotted in the instructions. As her hair grew out, the process was repeated to the roots, to maintain the hair straightening effect.

In December 2021, Wray was diagnosed with uterine cancer and uterine fibroids, requiring a hysterectomy.

Just for Me Hair Relaxer Uterine Cancer Risks

Chemical straighteners like Just for Me, Optimum, ORS Olive Oil, Dark & Lovely, Motions and other hair relaxers have been marketed for decades as safe, targeting Black women looking to remove the natural curls in their hair. However, in recent years, studies have been published that make a connection between use of hair relaxer 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 that 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.

Uterine Fibroid Risks from Just for Me and Other Hair Straighteners

Uterine fibroids are usually noncancerous growths in the uterus. Many women develop them during their lives, but often do not know because mild cases sometimes cause no symptoms. However, in other cases, numerous fibroids can appear and cause the uterus to expand, which can lead to pain and other health problems.

Symptoms of uterine fibroids can include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Long-duration menstrual periods lasting more than a week
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Constipation
  • Back or leg pain
  • Frequent urination and difficulty emptying the bladder.

In some cases, uterine fibroids have also been linked to infertility or pregnancy loss. It was originally believed that they carried very few health risks, however, in 2017 the FDA warned that potentially as many as one out of every 255 women have uterine fibroids which contain hidden cancer cells.

This revelation led to changes in uterine fibroid removal, with doctors moving away from the use of power morcellators, which could accidentally release the cancerous cells and spread cancer to other parts of a woman’s body.

Now, uterine fibroids are often removed via what is known as a myomectomy, where the fibroids are surgically removed from the wall of the uterus while preserving the uterus the woman’s ability to bear children. However, it does not stop fibroids from recurring later in life.

A hysterectomy is usually only recommended in cases where the fibroids are large, and the procedure leaves the woman unable to have any future children.

January 2023 Just for Me Lawsuit Update

Wray’s complaint joins a growing number of similar Just for Me lawsuits, Dark & Lovely lawsuits and other claims being brought over side effects of hair relaxer products, each raising similar allegations that the manufacturers failed to disclose the risks associated with phthalates and other endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in the complaints spread throughout the federal court system, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion to establish a hair relaxer MDL (multidistrict litigation) in December 2022, which would transfer the claims to one U.S, District Judge to preside over coordinated discovery and a series of early “bellwether” trials. The U.S. JPML announced it will hear oral arguments over whether the hair relaxer chemical lawsuits should be consolidated on January 26, 2023.

If centralized pretrial proceedings are set up in the federal court system, Wray’s Just for Met lawsuit would be consolidated with other similar claims in 2023. However, if a settlement or other resolution is not reached during the pretrial proceedings, the claim would later be returned back to the Northern District of Illinois for an individual trial.

Ultimately, it is expected that the litigation will include several thousand lawsuits over uterine cancer, uterine fibroids and other injuries linked to hair relaxer products.

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Lawyers provide free consultations and claim evaluations to help women determine if they may have eligible for a hair relaxer settlement over uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, fibroids and other injuries that may result from the chemical hair straigteners

Image Credit: Kelly Heck Photography

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  • DianaDecember 30, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    Uterine and Breast Fibroids Total Hysterectomy and January 2023 Second left breast ultrasound. Please include me in the lawsuit. 979-997-1454

  • CherylDecember 24, 2022 at 3:12 am

    I am a victim of these chemical products. Please include me in litigation. Thank you.

  • SandraDecember 23, 2022 at 10:11 pm

    I used dark n lovely and olive oil perms

  • CrystalDecember 23, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    I have used all of these products throughout my life. I current stop about year ago I am 56 years old. I have lost over 80percent of my hair and feel a lump on my left side,extended menstrual cycles. Iam scared to schedule and appointment but i going to see what is the problem.

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