Cosmetic Companies Sued Over Hair Straighteners And Cancer Link

Lawyers for a 32-year-old Missouri woman have filed a federal lawsuit against cosmetic giant L’Oreal and four other manufacturers over their products allegedly increasing the risk of uterine cancer.

Attorneys for Jenny Mitchell, including noted civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, asserted in their filing that her cancer resulted “directly and proximately” from exposure over time to “phthalates and other endocrine disrupting chemicals” found in hair care products.

Mitchell underwent a full hysterectomy in 2018 after being diagnosed with uterine cancer.

She told CNN that her “dreams of becoming a mother were gone.” Mitchell said that she, like most young African-American girls, was introduced to various products “to look a certain way, in order to feel a certain way.”

Mitchell added that she is “the first voice of many voices to come that will stand, stand up to these companies, and say, ‘No more.’”

The lawsuit said that the plaintiff continued to use chemical hair-straightening products after her surgery until March of this year. She is seeking financial compensation in excess of $75,000, according to the filing.

These allegedly harmful products included chemical relaxers and chemical straighteners.

Mass tort attorney for DiCello Levitt, Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann, said that millions of girls as young as seven put these on their heads anywhere from twice a month to every other month.

She believes that the legal action marks a “watershed moment” for women of color who use these products.

The lawsuit was filed days after the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study revealing possible dangers of hair straightening products. The findings showed that women who use these had a higher risk for uterine cancer than those who did not report their use.