Lawsuit Alleges Uterine Cancer Caused By Dark & Lovely and Other Hair Relaxers Resulted in Need for Hysterectomy

Makers of Dark & Lovely, African Pride and ORS Olive Oil products failed to warn women about the risk of uterine cancer caused by hair relaxers, according to lawsuit.

An Alabama woman has filed a product liability lawsuit alleging that years of exposure to Dark & Lovely, African Pride and ORS Olive Oil hair relaxers caused uterine cancer to develop, which resulted in the need for a hysterectomy.

The complaint (PDF) was brought by Tracine Lee Bush in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on May 9, presenting claims against various manufacturers of the chemical hair straighteners, including L’Oreal, Inc., Soft Sheen-Carson, Dermoviva Skin Essentials Inc, Dabur International Ltd, Namaste Laboratories, LLC and Godrej Son Holdings, Inc., as defendants.

Bush’s claim joins a growing number of similar hair relaxer lawsuits filed by women nationwide in recent months, each involving similar allegations that manufacturers put their desire for profits ahead of the safety and health of women of color, by failing to disclose that endocrine disrupting chemicals may cause uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, fibroids and other side effects.


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According to the complaint, Bush continually applied the chemical hair straighteners to her scalp at least once every three to four months for decades, since the manufacturers never provided warnings about the risk that African Pride, ORS Olive Oil or Dark & Lovely may cause uterine cancer.

However, in October 2022, researchers published findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which determined that endocrine disrupting inredients in chemical hair relaxers increase the risk of uterine cancer by a factor of nearly three, compared to women who never used the products.

“There was never any warning or labeling on the Products that normal use of the Products could cause her to develop cancer,” the lawsuit states. “Ms. Bush was diagnosed with uterine cancer and underwent invasive and stressful testing, procedures and treatment.”

One of those procedures was a full hysterectomy, the lawsuit notes.

May 2023 Hair Relaxing Perm Lawsuit Update

Given common questions of fact and law involved in each of the claims, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided last month to consolidate and centralize all hair relaxer and perm lawsuits as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, and appointed U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland to preside over all discovery and pretrial proceedings out of the Northern District of Illinois.

As part of the coordinated management of the litigation, it is expected that Judge Rowland will establish a bellwether process, where small groups of representative injury claims will go through case-specific discovery and be prepared for early trial dates, to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.

Following the MDL proceedings and any early bellwether trials scheduled by Judge Rowland, if the parties fail to negotiate hair relaxer settlements for individuals diagnosed with cancer and other injuries, the Court may later remand each individual lawsuit directly filed in the MDL back to the U.S. District Court where it would have originated for a separate trial.

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  • MelindaMay 13, 2023 at 5:19 am

    Migraines, headaches, hair loss, burns on scalp

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