A judge has extended the deadline to file for injuries caused by Revlon® hair relaxer and straightening products.
If you used Revlon® hair straighteners regularly and were diagnosed with
The deadline to file is April 11, 2023.
Call us to qualify and file your claim today.
History of Hair Straighteners
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.
Hair relaxers and hair straightening products were meant to assist African American women with styling their hair into longer, looser styles and to improve hair health. Essentially, the products were designed to allow women to style their hair without having to tug at their curls and risk damage.
Growth in popularity of hair straightening products within the African American community
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 sought-after, and the market increased to meet demand with numerous brands offering their take on hair straightening and relaxing.
Controversy Surrounding Hair Straighteners
National Institutes of Health: Women who use chemical hair straighteners are at a higher risk for uterine cancer.
A 2022 news release published by the public health research center the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shared that women who use products to chemically straighten their hair have a greater risk of developing uterine cancer. The NIH study found no associations with uterine cancer and other hair products that the women in the study reported using.
Researchers also found that African American women may be more affected because of their higher use of straightening chemicals, and thus, they were disproportionately placed at risk of developing this life-threatening condition.
The Good Hair Study reveals complex and varied feelings about hair straightening in the African American community
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.
Social stigmas and pressure black women to use chemical hair relaxing and straightening products that have been linked to uterine cancer.
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.
Studies show discrimination against African American women with natural hairstyles
Recent research by Michigan State University has also shown that Black women with natural hairstyles (i.e., afros, twists, braids, and dreadlocks) are often met with racial discrimination in the workplace, specifically. And a Social Psychological and Personality Science journal study found Black women seeking employment who chose to keep their natural hairstyles were perceived as “less competent, less professional and less likely to be recommended for a job” than Black women with straight hairstyles or White women with any style of hair.
Some increased acceptance of natural hairstyles; but harm of chemical hair relaxing products is ongoing.
Thus, the societal pressures and racial social norms African American women face, often feeling as if they must conform to White beauty standards, means they continue to use dangerous products and subject themselves to life-threatening diseases as a result, including uterine cancer. It may take a macrolevel shift, removing societal stigma, to allow Black women to feel more comfortable avoiding products with dangerous chemical components.
Medical History: More on the Risks Associated with Hair Straighteners
A 2012 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology took a look at the relationship between hair smoothing and straightening products and 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 U.S. African American women than U.S. white women.
In America, uterine leiomyomata is 2 to 3 times higher in African American women than in white women.
Hair straightening products may pose a danger for cosmetologists
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 within straighteners and steps to take to prevent adverse side effects are explained.
No restrictions on hair products used by Black Women and shown to increase health injuries.
According to NIH research concerning occupational exposures of hairdressers to various chemical-based products, in the US, 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.
Numerous health studies link uterine cancer and use of hair straightening products.
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.”
Social stigmas around hair can be more than a psychological health issue.
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 product use and adverse health effects. Black respondents were more likely to ever use chemical straighteners than non-Black respondents.
Pressure to have straight hair has led to potential risk of uterine cancer
The societal pressures felt by minority groups to use potentially dangerous products has increased over time and has become the norm in many cases. This pressure to use such products has led to an increase in uterine cancer in users of relaxers.
The fact that many African American women feel pressured to conform to societal norms means that those in the field are also being exposed to harmful chemicals. It also means that their loved ones and those they regularly come into contact with could be exposed, especially if these products are found in the home. Thus, a large number of individuals regularly come into contact with products that can lead to disease, and the problem (which is largely a social justice one) doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
Health concerns of marginalized groups are often ignored
Adding to the problem, minorities who live in poverty and who reside in disadvantaged neighborhoods are at greater risk of experiencing poor health outcomes and higher rates of cancer overall, according to numerous studies. This is likely because there is a lack of access to proper medical care and a social tendency to ignore the problems of the working class and minorities, especially when they’re geography-specific and are perceived to be easily contained.
Years of data raising health issues about hair straightening products used by many Black women and women of color did not translate into quick action.
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 cancer.
Tipping Point in link between hair straightening and uterine cancer
Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds that Black Women are disproportionately diagnosed with aggressive uterine and endometrial cancers.
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) published an article in late 2022 entitled “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%), and the results showed that over an average of 10.9 years of follow-up, 378 uterine cancer cases were identified, again mostly in African American women.
Many hair relaxers may contain “parabens, bisphenol A, metals, and formaldehyde,“ chemicals which “could be contributing to the increased uterine cancer risk observed.” 1
Hair relaxers and straighteners blamed as a source of increased cancer among African American women
Yet another article2 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 entitled “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.”
The study also states that recent data suggest that “heavy use [of relaxers and straighteners] relative to nonuse or light use may increase risk [of cancer].”
Revlon® lawsuit over cancer injuries from using Revlon® hair straightening products.
Based on these studies and other information that is coming to light over the past few years surrounding the use of hair relaxers and straighteners, lawsuits have begun to be filed including Terrel v. Revlon® Consumer Products Corp. et al in October of 2022. On October 21st, law firm Bullock Ward Mason filed one of the first lawsuits against manufacturers of hair relaxers on behalf of a client suffering from uterine cancer after using hair relaxers for over 20 years.
With more information becoming available about the dangers of using hair straighteners, more of the people injured are demanding accountability by asserting their legal rights.
However, the legal system can be complex and it’s best to work with a lawyer who is well-versed on the hazards of these hair products. Having someone in your corner who is not only knowledgeable about your specific case but can help explain your rights will ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Medical care is costly — help offset this by taking action today.
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.
 Hair straightening chemicals associated with higher uterine cancer risk, National Institutes of Health (NIH), News Release (Monday, October 17, 2022).
 Use of straighteners and other hair products and incident uterine cancer. Chang, C.J., O’Brien, K.M., Keil, A.P., Gaston, S.A., Jackson, C.L., Sandler, D.P. and White, A.J., 2022., JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 114(12), pp.1636-1645.