Austin Personal Injury Attorney – Hair Straightener and Uterine Cancer
Amber M. Pang Parra is a veteran attorney with over a decade of experience.
Amber’s principal focus is mass torts, where she is guided by a desire to help the many low-income and marginalized individuals who are harmed by the carelessness and greed of far too many corporate interests.
Many of Amber’s clients were injured by using unsafe medical products that they were prescribed by their health practitioners.
Many such injured people lack the resources, knowledge or even language skills to assert their rights.
Contact us at (512) 980-0000 to speak directly to Amber and tell your story.
Amber will listen patiently, and explain your legal options in clear and simple terms. Even if you hire Amber and Justinian & Associates, there is no fee unless you receive compensation for your injuries.
Am I Entitled to Compensation For My Hair Straightener Injuries?
You may be entitled to money for your injuries if you or your loved one:
- Can identify the names of hair straightening products you used
- Recall the dates you started and stopped using them
- Have consistently used those hair straightening products (4-8 weeks on average)
- For at least five years (5 or more times per year)
Legal Injuries: Health Problems from Hair Straightening Products
Hair straightener lawsuits and settlement cases are currently being investigated.
Claims can be filed by people who frequently used chemical hair relaxer or hair straightening products and suffered serious health problems injuries or complications including:
- Uterine Cancer
Speak to an Austin personal injury attorney who is experienced with harmful products like hair straightening chemicals and other mass tort injuries.
The clock may be ticking, and your rights may be at stake.
Hair Straighteners Background
Historical Methods of Hair Straightening
According to the Smithsonian, hair straightening products date back to the early 1900s beginning with Annie Turnbo Malone, owner of the Poro company (1906), and with Madame CJ Walker, marketing extremely popular pressing oils and other hair products to the African American community. These products were meant to assist African American women with styling their hair into longer, looser styles and to improve overall hair health.
By the 1930s, both African American men and women were frequenting salons that employed even stronger hair straightening products. These types of products have become increasingly popular since their inception with numerous brands offering their take on hair straightening and relaxing. According to studies, products like relaxers and straighteners are disproportionately used more by the African American community than other racial groups.
Hair Straighteners and Risk of Uterine Cancer
The National Institutes of Health reports that women who regularly straighten their hair with chemicals have a higher risk of developing uterine cancer.
According to a 2022 news release by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), women who use products to chemically straighten their hair are at a higher risk for uterine cancer. The NIH study found no association between uterine cancer and other hair products that the women in the study reported using. The study also found that African American women may be more affected because of their higher use of straightening chemicals.
The Good Hair Study reveals social pressures to straighten hair.
Many African-American women interviewed report social stigma against curly hair.
A 2016 study conducted by the Perception Institute known as the “Good Hair” study set out to examine implicit and explicit attitudes as they relate to African American women’s hair. Some of the findings concluded that African American women perceive a level of social stigma against textured hair and that this causes them to experience high levels of anxiety when compared to their white counterparts in the study.
With the perceived social stigma, it could be deduced that African American women feel pressured to chemically treat their hair with straighteners rather than leave their hair natural and endure any possible social discomfort.
Hair straightening issue is complex: the nostalgia of shared memories
In contrast, some African American women may look at this straightening with fondness based on childhood memories such as those defined by Noliwe M. Rooks in her book Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture, and African American Women. Rooks states, “I discovered that the feelings I recalled were present for other African American women as well … What she recalls is a time of closeness between her and the women with whom she shared her life.” Having positive memories associated with hair straightening may lead to a desire to continue practicing it even after risks are known.
Overall, it is likely societal pressures and racial social norms have led African American women to be the biggest users of chemical straightening products which, in turn, causes them to be at the highest risk for illnesses and diseases associated with use, including cancer.
What Are the Risks Of Hair Straighteners?
For decades, it has been suggested that there is a higher rate of uterine cancer in people working with hair industry chemicals, with data only mounting.
A 2012 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology took a look at the relationship between hair relaxer use and the risk of uterine leiomyomata in African American women. According to this study, hair relaxers have been used by millions of African American women, and these relaxers “can cause burns and lesions in the scalp facilitating entry of hair relaxer constituents into the body.” Based on factors such as these, the occurrence of uterine leiomyomata has been found to be two to three times higher in the U.S. Black community than in white women.
First indication of a connection between hair straightening and an increased risk of uterine cancer, perhaps as early as 1987.
Cosmetologists also seem to be at a high risk for adverse effects due to chemicals found inside straightening products. Some of the risky chemical additives are defined in the Health Hazard Manual for Cosmetologists, Hairdressers, Beauticians and Barbers by Nellie J. Brown, M.S. In this 1987 manual, the chemicals embedded in straighteners and precautions to take to prevent adverse side effects are explained.
According to NIH research concerning occupational exposures of hairdressers to various chemical-based products, in the U.S. there are no known legal restrictions to permanent wave and straightening preparations made from thioglycolic acid and its salts and esters. This acid can cause burns which can result in the chemicals within the hair relaxer entering the body.
New findings on the connection can no longer be ignored.
A study led by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of NIH, followed over 33,000 women for 11 years and found that 378 of those women were diagnosed with uterine cancer. Researchers found that “women who reported frequent use of hair straightening products, defined as more than four times in the previous year, were more than twice as likely to go on to develop uterine cancer compared to those who did not use the products.”
When a potential source of cancer was ignored, despite copious amounts of scholarly research, one could speculate that the source was ignored because it was mostly affecting minority women.
Fortunately, people have begun demanding accountability, and filing lawsuits against companies that failed to offer any warning, despite studies dating back decades that suggest a connection between hair straightening chemicals and uterine cancer.
Growing health concern for Black women and Women of Color
According to a more recent study (published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 2023), the disproportionate use of chemical straighteners and skin lighteners by women of color is a growing public health concern given the link between the use of these products and adverse health effects.
Again, it was found that Black respondents were more likely to use chemical straighteners than non-Black respondents. The societal pressures felt by minority groups to use potentially dangerous products has increased over time and has become the norm in many cases.
Many studies have documented the connection between hair relaxers and disease. A 2020 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found many hair products “contain endocrine-disrupting compounds and carcinogens” that could be linked to the development of breast cancer.
A study published in Environmental Research in 2018 measured the concentration of chemicals found in 18 hair products finding that these chemicals were endocrine-disrupting and increased asthma risk in African American women.
Yet another study published in 2017 in the Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology journal followed 23,000 women between 1997 and 2009 and found hair straighteners increased the risk for uterine fibroids with Black women having a 2 to 3 times higher risk.
On its website, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers that hair straightening and smoothing products release formaldehyde gas, a known human carcinogen as classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Contact with this gas can have a long-term impact on health and well-being.
The bottom line? There is a wealth of research linking hair straighteners to health issues. The list goes on and on.
National Cancer Institute raises the alarm about hair straightening chemicals
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute points to extensive research connecting hair straighteners with uterine cancer.
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) published an article in late 2022 titled “Use of Straighteners and Other Hair Products and Incident Uterine Cancer.” This article examines the associations between hair product use and incident uterine cancer among nearly 40,000 Sister Study participants between ages 35 and 74. The participants who used straighteners were mostly African American/Black (59.9%).
10-year study finds widespread use of hair straighteners among Black women puts them at greatest risk of developing uterine cancer.
The results showed that over an average of 10.9 years of follow-up, 378 uterine cancer cases were identified. These findings are the first epidemiologic evidence of association between use of straightening products and uterine cancer and more research is warranted to replicate the findings in other settings. Because a higher number of African American women using straighteners, they are more likely to be met with disease.
Other studies showing health problems linked to hair straighteners
Yet another current article found on JNCI’s website singles out chemical relaxers and hair straightening products to be potential targets for hormone-related cancers like uterine cancer. The article, titled “Chemical Relaxers and Hair-Straightening Products: Potential Targets for Hormone-Related Cancer Prevention and Control,” states:
“The unequal burden of exposure across populations plausibly contributes to cancer inequities as the groups with the greatest exposure also experience poorer cancer outcomes…Black women are disproportionately diagnosed with…aggressive types of uterine and endometrial cancers.” It also states that “recent data suggests that heavy use [of relaxers and straighteners] relative to nonuse or light use may increase risk [of cancer].”
Lawsuits for hair straightener health injuries have begun, and the clock is ticking.
Time is limited to file a case of health problems from the use of hair straighteners.
Call and qualify for your claim – don’t wait!
Based on studies and other information that is coming to light surrounding the use of hair relaxers and straighteners, lawsuits have started to be filed including Terrel v. Revlon Consumer Products Corp. et al in October of 2022. On October 21st, the law firm Bullock Ward Mason filed one of the first lawsuits against manufacturers of relaxers on behalf of a client suffering from uterine cancer after using these products for over 20 years.
Compensation is available for people harmed by commercial hair straightening chemicals.
Qualified Legal Representation in A Claim for Hair Straightener Injuries like Uterine Cancer
Warriors For The Injured
The Austin-based injury law firm of Justinian & Associates has represented many military veterans, including those injured by hair straightening chemicals.
We also understand the complex feelings and challenges involved in these cases. Our managing partner Dustin Fox lost his own father to cancer, likely linked to the chemical agent orange, which he was exposed to working for the U.S. Forest Service while serving in the Vietnam War.
We have battled bullies of all kinds, taking on large multinational corporations, and earning compensation for hundreds of our injured clients. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience with disability claims and cases involving health problems caused by hazardous chemicals like hair straighteners.
We know the law and are able to navigate the bureaucratic maze of the Veterans Affairs Department and the judicial system. Each of our attorneys, investigators and support staff is committed to getting you the help and compensation you are entitled to under the law.
If you or a loved one developed uterine cancer from using hair straighteners, you need experienced personal injury and dangerous product attorneys on your side.
Call, text or email us for a free consultation with a seasoned Austin personal injury attorney. Tell us your story, and we will explain your options. And unless we get you money for your injuries, you owe us nothing.
Don’t Wait to Seek Legal Assistance For Your Hair Straightener Injury
Your rights can be lost if you wait.
The experienced attorneys at Justinian and Associates are standing by ready to help you get the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact us today.