L’Oreal Chemical Hair Straightener and Uterine Cancer Lawsuits: What You Need to Know

January 18, 2024 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
L’Oreal Chemical Hair Straightener and Uterine Cancer Lawsuits: What You Need to Know

Chemical hair straightening products work to relax curls and create straighter hair. Many women use these products every day. Unfortunately, some women may have ended up with results they did not bargain for. A recent study from the NIH discovered that chemical hair straightening products could increase the risk of uterine cancer.

Many women who used those products are now seeking compensation for the damages they have suffered. A L’Oreal chemical hair relaxer lawsuit can help consumers pursue compensation for the damages they may have sustained.

L'Oreal Hair Straightener Lawsuit Updates

Thousands of federal lawsuits filed across the nation have been consolidated into one Multi-District Litigation (MDL) located in the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Mary Rowland will preside over this fast-growing hair straightener cancer MDL. One of the main reasons this lawsuit is accelerating this year is the growing body of scientific studies that link hair relaxer use to various types of cancer, including uterine cancer.

The lawyers representing the women who were injured by these products believe the manufacturers knew about the potential harm their hair relaxer products could cause yet failed to warn the users about the danger. Specifically, the hair relaxer makers knew their products contained endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including phthalates, metals, and parabens, which are known carcinogens (chemicals that cause cancer). However, companies, including L'Oreal, did not provide any warning that people who use their products could develop uterine cancer.

January 12, 2024 - Judge Rowland Sets Dates For the First Two Bellwether Trials

A bellwether trial is a test trial that allows both sides in the litigation to present their evidence to a jury to see how it turns out. These trials allow the plaintiffs and defendants to understand how a jury interprets the scientific evidence and what amounts the jury may award an injured plaintiff. Depending on the outcome, more cases may go to trial, or the results could lead to settlements or other negotiations.

With thousands of cases pending in this MDL, it would be impossible to hold trials for every plaintiff's case. Bellwether trials are extremely important in mass tort litigation. The first bellwether trial in the L'Oreal hair straightener litigation is currently scheduled for November 3, 2025, and the second trial will occur on February 2, 2026.

January 8, 2024 - More Than 8,100 Cases are Filed in the Hair Straightener MDL

This multidistrict litigation began in February 2023, but there were only 300 cases filed by August 2023. However, by January 2024, the number of lawsuits filed in the L'Oreal hair straightener MDL soared to more than 8,100. We expect many more plaintiffs to come forward and join the MDL as they realize the connection between using hair relaxer products and cancers such as uterine cancer.

A recent study known as the Black Women's Health Study followed just under 50,000 black women from 1997 through 2019. The women who used commercial chemical hair relaxers for at least 15 years and at least five times per year showed an increased risk of uterine cancer, including endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma. It is believed the chemicals in these products disrupt human endocrines, which can lead to hormonal and reproductive cancers.

December 18, 2023 - New Case Filings Jump After FDA Proposed Hair Product Ban

By December, almost 8,000 plaintiffs had joined the hair straightener MDL located in the Northern District of Illinois. The surge of filings may be attributed to a proposed FDA ban on hair products, including hair straighteners and relaxers that contain formaldehyde since it is a known carcinogen. The ban is set to take effect by April 2024.

Also, Judge Rowland has made it easier to join this MDL by approving a Master Complaint on August 15th that standardizes new lawsuits filed in the MDL. We expect many more plaintiffs to file lawsuits in this quickly growing litigation.

November 16, 2023 - Judge Rejects Defendants' Attempt to Dismiss Litigation

The defendants in this hair straightener cancer litigation, including L'Oreal and Revlon, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuits based on various legal theories. Judge Rowland rejected the motion and denied the defendants' requests. At this time, the following legal theories may be alleged by injured plaintiffs:

  • Design defects
  • Failure to warn 
  • Implied and Express warranty
  • Unjust enrichment
  • Punitive damages
  • Derivative damages

Unfortunately, the judge agreed to dismiss the plaintiffs' claims based on fraud, and two named defendants were also dismissed because they are international companies and this court does not have jurisdiction over them.

February 8, 2023 - Federal Hair Straightener Lawsuits Consolidated Into Multi-District Litigation (MDL)

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) named Judge Mary M. Rowland in the Northern District of Illinois to head up the new multidistrict litigation related to hair straightener and hair relaxer cancer claims. As a result, 60 lawsuits pending in federal courts around the nation will be transferred into the Northern District of Illinois for combined discovery and motion hearing practices.

What is The Sister Study?

The Sister Study, conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, sought to identify risk factors that could increase the risk of breast cancer and other health conditions. It followed the general health of women between the ages of 35 and 74 from 2003 to 2009 with sisters who had breast cancer.

The study noted that sisters share environments, genes, and experiences, so studying their lifestyle and other decisions could give key insights into risk factors that could increase the risk of developing breast cancer and other health issues for women. The study looked at lifestyle, family history, reproductive history, and the risk of developing breast cancer along with other types of cancers, including uterine cancer, noncancerous conditions, and deaths that could result from lifestyle factors.

Researchers involved in the Sister Study discovered that women who used hair straightening products frequently, including more than four times in the previous year, had twice the likelihood of developing uterine cancer than people who did not use those products. According to the study, around 1.64 percent of women who do not use hair straightening products will ultimately develop uterine cancer. For frequent users of chemical hair straighteners, the risk could increase to as much as 4.05 percent.

Uterine cancer rates have risen recently in the United States, particularly in Black women. Researchers participating in the Sister Study suggest that Black women may see a higher rate of uterine cancer due in part to the fact that this population uses more of those products.

Potentially Dangerous Chemicals in L’Oreal Hair Straightener

Researchers in the Sister Study did not identify specific chemicals that may have caused the increased cancer risk.

However, they did identify several potential ingredients that may have increased the risk of uterine cancer for those women, including:

  • Parabens
  • Bisphenol A
  • Metals
  • Formaldehyde

Chemical hair straighteners may have a greater risk of causing cancer than other similar products because of the potential absorption of those products through the scalp. Burns and lesions caused by chemical hair straightening products may further increase the risk of absorbing higher quantities of those products.

Symptoms of Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer occurs in the uterus. It develops most often in women over 55; however, chemical hair straightener use may, in some cases, cause women to develop symptoms of uterine cancer much earlier.

Symptoms may include:

  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Pelvic pain, including pain during intercourse
  • Difficulty urinating

Patients may have several treatment options for uterine cancer. Patients may end up undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or hormone therapy. In addition, doctors may recommend a hysterectomy. Many treatments for uterine cancer can result in sterility, preventing a woman from having children. While uterine cancer typically occurs in women already post-menopause, when it occurs in younger women, the inability to have children can cause more serious emotional implications for the patient.

Who Can Participate in a L’Oreal Chemical Hair Relaxer Lawsuit?

To participate in a L’Oreal chemical hair straightener lawsuit, you must:

  1. Have used L’Oreal chemical hair straighteners regularly, including using those products at least four times per year
  2. Have a uterine cancer diagnosis

By working with a lawyer, you can work to establish that you suffered a cancer diagnosis due to the company’s negligence in providing safe products.

Recovering Compensation as Part of a L’Oreal Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit: What to Expect

If you used L’Oreal chemical hair straightener, you may have the right to considerable compensation for the damages you may have sustained due to a uterine cancer diagnosis. A lawyer can help you determine exactly how much compensation you can expect based on the specific losses you sustained due to your cancer diagnosis.

If you developed uterine cancer after using L’Oreal chemical hair straighteners, you may need to spend considerable time in treatment. Those treatment costs can add up fast.

You may have to pay for:

  • Diagnostic tests. Diagnosing uterine cancer can take some time, and often, a diagnosis will involve expensive ongoing tests. In addition, your doctor may recommend checking to ensure the cancer has not spread to other areas of the body.
  • Chemotherapy costs. Chemotherapy treatment can help ensure that cancer does not have the opportunity to spread through the body, but it can also prove very expensive.
  • Radiation. Radiation directly targets cancerous areas of the body, which may make it easier to destroy cancer cells.
  • Hospitalization. Some patients will end up hospitalized while undergoing treatment related to uterine cancer. Cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, may also interfere with overall immune health, which means that patients may have a higher risk of suffering secondary infections.
  • Surgical costs. In many cases, doctors will recommend a hysterectomy for patients to recover from uterine cancer. Surgical costs can mount considerably for many patients.
  • In-home care. During cancer treatment or after surgery, many patients will need extra support at home to maintain their quality of life and ensure they get the care they need. In-home care can help provide that high standard of care, particularly when family members may not be able to provide that care.

Talk to your lawyer about all medical costs you may have had to deal with related to uterine cancer treatments. Your lawyer can help you determine how to best calculate your financial losses because of the cancer diagnosis and how to ensure that you include all relevant treatment expenses as part of your claim.

Uterine cancer can mean a long road to recovery. You may need six to eight weeks to recover after a hysterectomy. You may need to rest frequently and avoid many of your usual daily activities, including heavy lifting, which may serve as a key part of many jobs. Furthermore, treatment for uterine cancer may also involve radiation or chemotherapy, which can mean weeks or months of treatments designed to help keep cancer from spreading and reduce overall risk.

In many cases, that can mean a lot of time out of work while you recover. A cancer diagnosis can mean that you have to spend months out of work or that you miss out on many days at work due to illness or treatment.

Unfortunately, you can end up with substantial financial losses related to that time out of work. You may have more sick days during your treatment, and you may even end up using vacation time to cover the cost of time off work for treatment rather than getting to use it for your personal plans.

Talk to your lawyer about the time you had to spend out of work for cancer treatments and how it impacted your income. Your lawyer can help you determine how to best include the cost of those missed wages in your claim.

Compensation for the Suffering Associated with Your Cancer Diagnosis

A cancer diagnosis can mean substantial suffering for many patients. Simply finding out that you have cancer can cause a distinct rise in anxiety, which you may end up struggling to control. Patients with cancer may go through a great deal of physical suffering as they deal with the impact of the disease and the challenges associated with treatment.

Furthermore, many patients with cancer find that it has a substantial impact on their relationships with friends and loved ones. In many cases, cancer patients find that friends fall out of touch or that they might not connect as well with other loved ones.

In addition, uterine cancer can cause substantial emotional suffering for many patients. Uterine cancer often means that a patient can no longer have children. The inability to have biological children can have a substantial impact on many patients, who may struggle with those emotional implications.

While those emotional losses do not have a direct financial correlation, you may still deserve compensation for those non-financial losses. By working with a lawyer, you can establish the extent of your suffering and the compensation you reasonably deserve.

A lawyer cannot guarantee the compensation you will actually recover for your cancer diagnosis. However, a lawyer can help you break down the financial losses that occurred due to your uterine cancer, which can give you a better idea of what to expect when you file a lawsuit.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Handle a L’Oreal Chemical Hair Straightener Uterine Cancer Lawsuit?

​L’Oreal Chemical Hair Straightener and Uterine Cancer Lawsuit

If you suffered a uterine cancer diagnosis after regular use of a L’Oreal hair straightener product, you may assume that you can file a relatively straightforward lawsuit. You may even think that you might handle that claim on your own, rather than turning to an attorney. However, having an attorney on your side can make a huge difference in your ability to get the full compensation you deserve from a L’Oreal hair straightener lawsuit.

A lawyer can offer a great deal of support at every stage of the claim process.

  • A lawyer can help make sure that you understand your right to compensation. In many cases, when people find themselves dealing with a lawsuit, they struggle to figure out how much compensation they should expect. They may receive a low settlement offer that does not really reflect the damages they sustained but assume that it comes as close as possible to providing them with reasonable compensation, especially after something as devastating as a cancer diagnosis. In many cases, however, that means that the patient will end up accepting a settlement that does not really reflect the damages sustained during the accident. Working with a lawyer can help you determine all your losses related to your cancer diagnosis, which means you can include them as part of your claim.
  • A lawyer can help you determine how to best establish the evidence you need from your claim.In some cases, you may end up struggling to prove the connection between L’Oreal hair straightener and your claim. A lawyer can help you better determine how to piece together that evidence and present it in a way that clearly shows that you regularly used the product, that the product contained those dangerous chemicals, and that those chemicals likely contributed to your uterine cancer diagnosis.
  • A lawyer can help deal with L’Oreal and its insurance company on your behalf. A lawsuit is emotionally draining, especially when you already have a cancer diagnosis to deal with. In many cases, you may find yourself fighting with the insurance company or with L’Oreal to get recognition for your suffering and the damages that went along with it. By working with a lawyer who understands the ins and outs of cancer lawsuits, including a L’Oreal chemical hair straightener lawsuit, you can receive support at every stage of the claim process to help you navigate that claim. You may find that having a lawyer substantially decreases your stress and makes you feel more confident about the outcome of your claim.

Contact a Lawyer for Help with Your L’Oreal Chemical Hair Straightener and Uterine Cancer Claim

If you have uterine cancer after using L’Oreal chemical hair straightener, you may deserve compensation for your costs and losses. Contact the mass tort lawyers at Dolman Law Group as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and how you can best proceed with your claim. Call today for a free consultation.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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