Lawsuit Alleges Chemicals in Olive Oil Girls, Motions Hair Relaxer Caused Uterine Fibroids

Plaintiff had to undergo a myomectomy due to the development of uterine fibroids from hair relaxer products used for decades.

  • Motions, Olive Oil and other hair relaxer products contain endocrine disrupting chemicals that may cause uterine fibroids, cancer and other injuries
  • Studies have found an increased risk of uterine cancer and fibroids caused by hair relaxers
  • Lawsuit alleges that manufacturers failed to warn women about the risk
  • LEARN MORE ABOUT MOTIONS AND OLIVE OIL HAIR RELAXER LAWSUITS

A New York woman has filed a product liability lawsuit against manufacturers of the home hair straightening products Olive Oil Girls and Motions, alleging that the hair relaxers caused uterine fibroids to develop, which resulted in the need for a myomectomy operation last year.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Teresa Spencer in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on November 21, naming Strength of Nature, LLC, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, Dabur USA Inc and Namaste Laboratories as defendants.

The case joins a growing number of hair relaxer lawsuits now being filed, following the publication of several studies that highlighted health risks associated with phthalates and other endocrine disrupting chemicals found in a number of products widely marketed to Black women, including Dark & Lovely, Just of Me, Optimum, Motions, Olive Oil Girls and other brands.

In addition to uterine fibroid lawsuits, plaintiffs have also filed claims alleging hair relaxer caused uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and other injuries linked to the chemicals.

Spencer’s lawsuit indicates she began using the hair straightener products Motions and Olive Oil Girls in 1988, and continued to use them through approximately 2014. According to the complaint, Spencer began to suffer uterine fibroids which had to be removed through a myomectomy in June 2021.

The lawsuit claims the manufacturers knew Motions and Olive Oil girls hair relaxer products carried health risks due to the endocrine disrupting chemicals used in their manufacture, but failed to provide adequate warnings to the public.

“Defendants concealed their knowledge of the Products’ defects from Plaintiff Teresa Spencer and the public in general,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants’ representations and/or omissions were done with the intent of defrauding and deceiving Plaintiff Teresa Spencer and/or the public in general, and were made with the intent of inducing the public in general to purchase Defendants’ Products for chemically straightening and/or relaxing hair, all of which evinced a callous, reckless, willful, depraved indifferent to health, safety, and welfare of the Plaintiff.”

Hair Relaxer Uterine Fibroid Risks

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.

Hair Relaxer Cancer Risks

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, 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. 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.

A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Cancer (IJC) issued similar findings, indicating women who reported regularly using straighteners and permanent hair dyes were 9% more likely to develop breast cancer than non-users.

Over an eight year period, researchers identified 2,794 cases of breast cancer after chemical hair straighteners use. The study revealed those who frequently used hair straightener products were at a significantly increased risk of breast cancer, finding women using hair straighteners at least every five to eight weeks, had a 30% increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Researchers warned that African American women who reported using permanent hair dyes regularly were associated with a 60% increase of breast cancer diagnosis, compared to an 8% increased risk for Caucasian women.

As a growing number of women file lawsuits over uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine fibroids caused by hair relaxers, it is expected that tens of thousands of claims will be brought, and the litigation may become one of the largest mass torts in the U.S. court system before the first settlements are reached.

Dark Lovely and Just for Me Hair Relaxer

FIND OUT IF YOU QUALIFY FOR A HAIR RELAXER SETTLEMENT

Women diagnosed with uterine fibroids, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and other injuries caused by hair relaxers may be entitled to settlement benefits. Lawyers provide free consultations and claim evaluations to help determine if you or a loved one may qualify.

CONTACT A LAWYER

4 Comments

  • vondaNovember 26, 2022 at 4:30 pm

    I'm a victim of olive oil products,results almost costed my death

  • CrystalNovember 26, 2022 at 11:52 am

    I have used olive oil relaxer for about 20 years if not more. In 2011 I had a partial hysterectomy due to heavy bleeding cause of fibrosis.

  • DerrinetteNovember 25, 2022 at 12:23 am

    This is the only relaxer I've been using for years and I also had uterine fibroids.. I just recently got them removed,mid this year!

  • MaryNovember 24, 2022 at 9:09 am

    I will definitely be looking into this because I too have been having fibroid issues along with headaches. Been thinking my hair products may be the culprits.

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