Hair Relaxer Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Ovarian Cancer Caused By Chemical Straighteners

The deadly case of ovarian cancer came after decades of chemical straightener use, according to the hair relaxer wrongful death lawsuit

Chemical straighteners used in Mizani, TCB, and TCB Naturals hair relaxer products caused a fatal case of ovarian cancer, according to allegations raised in a recently filed wrongful death lawsuit.

The complaint (PDF) was brought earlier this month by Rochelle Coronado, as a representative of the Estate of Gail Hamilton, pursuing claims against L’Oreal USA, Inc., it’s subsidiary Soft Sheen-Carson, as well as Strength of Nature, LLC., and Godrej Consumer Products, Ltd. in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

According to the hair relaxer wrongful death lawsuit, Hamilton began using the products in the late 1980s, and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May 2016, which eventually led to her death. Coronado indicates that the cancer was a direct result of chemicals in the hair relaxer, indicating that the manufacturers misrepresented the safety the products, despite knowing that the hair relaxer may cause cancer to develop.

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Hair Relaxer Lawsuits

Regular exposure to chemicals in hair relaxer may cause uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and other injuries. Women diagnosed with cancer may be eligible for settlement benefits.

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“Defendants negligently misrepresented and/or fraudulently represented to Plaintiff and/or the public in general that their Products had been properly tested and were found to be safe for their intended use despite that knowledge to the contrary,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants’ representations and/or omissions were done with the intent of defrauding and deceiving Plaintiff, and the public in general, and were made with the intent of inducing consumers to purchase Defendants’ Products for chemically straightening and/or relaxing hair, all of which evinced a callous, reckless, willful, depraved indifference to health, safety, and welfare of the Plaintiff.”

Hair Relaxer Ovarian Cancer Risks

Coronado’s complaint joins 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 ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and other devastating injuries. However, rather than warning about the potential risk, manufacturers continued to aggressively market the relaxers and perms, specifically targeted young Black children, creating generations of devoted customers who did not know they were exposing themselves to an increased risk of cancer.

The lawsuits point to a large body of medical research which highlights the adverse side effects endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in hair relaxer can have on the body. EDCs are known to interfere with the normal activity of the endocrine system, and have been linked to the development of various cancers, endometriosis, abnormalities in reproductive organs, and other injuries.

Concerns about the ovarian cancer risk from hair relaxers first emerged in 2021, when a study published in the medical journal Carcinogenesis found that frequent use of hair relaxers more than four times a year was associated with an increased risk. Researchers evaluated data from the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) “Sister Study”, which involved data on more than 40,000 women, and determined that users of hair relaxer may be twice as likely to develop certain types of ovarian cancer, compared to women who never used the products.

In October 2022, researchers published findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which warned that ingredients used in the chemical hair relaxers may cause uterine cancer, finding 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.

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, it is expected that thousands of hair relaxer lawsuits will be brought throughout the federal court system this year.

Since each of the claims involve similar questions of fact and law, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has decided to centralize all hair relaxer and perm cancer lawsuits in the Northern District of Illinois, where U.S. District Judge Mary Rowland will preside over coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings throughout 2013.

The hair relaxer wrongful death lawsuit filed by Coronado will be transferred to Judge Rowland’s court in the coming weeks, where the Court is expected to establish a “bellwether” process where a group of representative claims will be prepared for early trial dates to help gauge how juries will respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation. However, if the parties fail to negotiate hair relaxer settlements to resolve claims, each case may later 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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Diagnosed with Cancer from Hair Relaxer?

Lawsuits are being pursued against the manufacturers for failing to warn about the risk of ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and other injuries caused by chemicals in hair relaxers.



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