Hair Straightener Chemical Mass Tort Causing Uterine Cancer

On October 21, a woman from Missouri filed a mass tort lawsuit against beauty giant L’Oreal and other similar companies for allegedly selling hazardous chemical straightening materials. The products have been directly linked with an increased risk for women to develop uterine cancer.

Main Effects of Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer is a blanket definition to describe any cancer in your uterus.

Some of the most severe long-term effects of uterine cancer include the following:

  • Early menopause
  • Removal of the ovaries, causing infertility
  • Low blood counts due to chemotherapy
  • Difficulty managing stress
  • Depression and anxiety

While there is a high recovery rate, and it affects less than 3% of cisgender women, it can experience tremendous physical and emotional trauma to those affected by it.

The Study

In a recent study released by the National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIH), only about 1.6% of women who never used hair straighter products would develop uterine cancer over their lifetimes.

However, this percentage quadrupled with women who used these products regularly. The study also highlighted how black women were more prone to developing this type of cancer since they were more likely to use these chemical straighteners than white women.

L’Oreal Mass Tort Case

Jenny Mitchell was exposed to chemical straightener products since she was a child and used them until 2022. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer in August 2018. As part of her treatment, she underwent a radical hysterectomy, which left her unable to have children.

With no family history of uterine cancer and in light of the recent NIH study, Mitchell believed the beauty companies were responsible for what happened and is now demanding up to $75,000 in compensation. Based on her official case complaint, the frequent usage of L’Oreal and other companies’ beauty products directly put her at risk of developing the illness due to their hazardous chemicals.

Why This Case Is Important

As Mitchell explained to CNN, “Society has made it a norm to look a certain way, in order to feel a certain way. And I am the first voice of many voices to come that will stand, stand up to these companies, and say, ‘No more.’”

Jenny Mitchell was not the only one using these harmful chemicals, and her case marks one of many women that will seek justice for the lifelong damages that beauty companies like L’Oreal have caused them. If her case is successful, her court victory will also serve as a warning for companies in this industry to implement better safety regulations.