Many women place a high value on their hair, spending hours and sometimes even hundreds of dollars to achieve the look and style that makes them most happy. Not every woman or person is safe when making alterations to their natural hair, though. If you were recently diagnosed with cancer, you may have a right to compensation through South Carolina hair relaxer litigation.
The Solomon Law Group represents individuals who have been harmed by dangerous or defective consumer products. To learn more about your legal options in a free, no-obligation setting, get in touch with our Columbia law office. We’ll match you with an experienced lawyer who is best suited to meet your needs.
The Link Between Hair Relaxers and Cancer
A study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that the use of chemical hair straightening products puts women at a higher risk of developing uterine cancer. This same link was not found with other hair care products, such as perms, bleaches, highlights, or dyes.
The study included significant amounts of data, including data found in the Sister Study—a massive study that involved 33,497 women between the ages of 35-74. Over the course of 11 years, there were 378 separate uterine cancer diagnoses.
Among all women, those who have never used chemical hair straightening products have only a 1.64% chance of being diagnosed with cancer by the age of 70. For women who regularly use these products, the risk more than doubles to a shocking 4.05%.
Chemical Hair Straighteners: A Threat to Health Hiding in Plain Sight
Chemical hair straighteners break down the protein structure of hair strands to permanently straighten or “relax” curly hair. Unlike serum or heat straightening (such as with a flat iron), the effects of chemical straightening last until new hair begins to grow in.
While the promise of a “once-and-done” approach can be extremely appealing, the ingredients hiding inside these products have been shown to be dangerous to human health.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), chemical hair straightening products contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals as well as other hazardous ingredients, including:
- Bisphenol A
In addition to increasing the risk of uterine cancer, these ingredients can also increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine fibroids. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also linked formaldehyde exposure to an increase in miscarriage and fertility problems.
Hair care companies have a responsibility to design, manufacture, and market products that are safe for use by humans. Unfortunately, the legal team at The Solomon Law Group has seen how, time and time again, big companies choose to prioritize profits over people.
Corporations are often unwilling to change their products if it means spending additional money on research or innovation, choosing instead to maintain their current (and dangerous) ingredient lists. And since companies can bring these products to market without FDA approval, it is unlikely that we’ll see any real or lasting change without the efforts of consumers taking legal action.
Our team of experienced hair relaxer lawyers refuses to allow these businesses to continue their current operations without being held accountable. Based in South Carolina, we help victims who have been harmed by dangerous or harmful products seek justice and compensation for their injuries, no matter what state the at-fault company is based in.
Who Is Most at Risk for Cancer Caused by Hair Relaxers?
As reported by NIH, approximately 60% of people who report using chemical hair straighteners self-identify as Black women.
Historically, in the United States, Black women have faced countless hurdles and barriers in the workplace. Persistent and systemic racism within the American workforce has routinely limited employment and advancement opportunities for people within the Black community.
For decades, Afro-textured hair and protective styles have been erroneously labeled as “unprofessional.” With our current ideas of professionalism in the workplace founded on centuries of racism, many Black women continue to use chemical hair straighteners in an effort to more closely emulate a Euro-centric idea of beauty and professionalism and secure employment opportunities.
In March 2022, the South Carolina House passed the CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. If implemented into law, it would prohibit “discrimination based on a person’s hair texture or hairstyle if that style or texture is commonly associated with a particular race or national origin.”
Movement on the bill has stalled, though. This means that Black men and women living and working in our state are still subject to hair-based discrimination in employment, housing programs, and public accommodations.
Until there is any type of actionable change, the Black community of South Carolina will continue to be forced into situations in which they feel there is no other option than to chemically alter their natural curly or textured hair. And the more this process is repeated, the greater the risk of developing serious and life-altering illnesses such as uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and uterine fibroids.
The impact on the Black community is real and devastating. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Black women make up the demographic with the highest death rate from uterine cancer.
The Timeline for Chemical Hair Straighteners Lawsuits
Hair relaxer litigation is still a new and largely unchartered form of legal action. However, every lawyer at The Solomon Law Group is committed to providing unparalleled legal representation to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer or a life-altering illness after using chemical hair straighteners.
As part of our commitment to our community and the clients that we represent, we are well-versed in the most recent related legal action.
- October 2022 – The NIH and Sister Study announced the link between hair relaxers and certain cancers.
- November 2022 – The first wave of product liability lawsuits for chemical hair straighteners are filed in U.S. federal courts. Some plaintiffs file a motion to consolidate all lawsuits into multidistrict litigation (MDL).
- December 2022 – More lawsuits are filed, and named defendants (the companies accused of creating dangerous hair care products) oppose the creation of MDL.
- January 2023 – The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) holds a hearing to discuss whether MDL consolidation for hair relaxer lawsuits is necessary. The pace at which these lawsuits are filed begins to increase.
- February 2023 – The JPML decides to consolidate chemical hair relaxer lawsuits filed in federal court into a class action MDL.
Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is the process of consolidating multiple lawsuits concerning the same legal matter into a single, more simplified process. However, MDL does not negate the need for an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.
Potentially Dangerous Brands and Hair Relaxer Products
Companies that have been named in these lawsuits include:
- Namaste Laboratories
- Strength of Nature Global
- Dabur International
- Godrej Consumer Products
- Action Beauty Supply
Products that plaintiffs have named in their lawsuits as being the cause of their cancer and other health issues include:
- Action Exclusives
- African Pride
- Crème of Nature
- Dark & Lovely
- Just for Me
- Optimum Care
- Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Relaxer
If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and previously used any of the above chemical hair relaxers or other products manufactured, produced, or marketed by the named companies, you may have the right to recover compensation for your damages.
Compensation for Cancer Caused by Hair Care Products
The role of a product liability lawsuit is often two-fold. The first is to hold the negligent company, manufacturer, or distributor responsible for the harm they’ve caused. The second is to recover compensation that covers the cost of your related damages and losses.
Compensation in these types of cases can typically be broken down into two categories: economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages cover your direct and calculable financial losses. This means that any type of monetary loss you’ve suffered as a direct result of your related condition is generally covered, including:
- Lost wages
- Loss of benefits
- Reduced earning capacity
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Transportation costs to and from appointments
- Prescription medications
- Assistive medical devices
- Domestic services (including in-home nursing and cleaning services)
On the other hand, noneconomic damages compensate you for all the other ways in which your life has been impacted. Because not every loss comes with a price tag, this can include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Loss of companionship or consortium
The exact amount of compensation you may be entitled to will depend on the unique circumstances of your claim, including the severity of your injuries and the extent of your losses.
After the conclusion of your legal case, there won’t be another opportunity to go back and ask for more money. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you get the value of your claim right the first time.
As expert litigators with extensive experience handling complex product liability cases, the lawyers of The Solomon Law Group are standing by to help. Get in touch today for a completely free, no-obligation review of your case.
The Role of a South Carolina Hair Relaxer Litigation Attorney
Seeing so many other people pursue hair relaxer litigation in South Carolina can feel empowering. While the situation you are currently dealing with is distressing and even isolating, knowing that you are not alone can give you the courage and strength needed to move forward with a legal claim.
But just because there are hundreds or even thousands of people taking the same legal action as you does not guarantee success.
Big corporations employ their own teams of attorneys, and they will stop at nothing to protect their own interests and profits. Having a skilled attorney of your own will help ensure that your rights are upheld and protected throughout the entire process, from the initial filing to the final conclusion of your claim.
A South Carolina hair relaxer litigation attorney can:
- Provide a free-of-charge informational meeting to help you learn about your legal options.
- Identify and preserve evidence that proves that chemical hair relaxers were the direct and proximate cause of your cancer diagnosis.
- Correctly total your losses and assign an accurate value to your claim.
- Handle all requests for documentation and meet all filing guidelines, even when working on a tight schedule.
Most importantly, a lawyer from the Solomon Law Group can provide unparalleled legal support during life’s most difficult times.
Seeking Justice with the Solomon Law Group
Consumers should be able to walk into a store without worrying about whether the products on the shelf may pose a threat to their health and safety. Unfortunately, many dangerous products continue to make their way onto store shelves and into our homes, putting us all at risk.
And when the intersection of racism in the workplace and dangerous products puts Black women (among others) at an increased risk for cancer, the Solomon Law Group is here.
We proudly provide unmatched legal representation to clients all across the state of South Carolina. For an opportunity to discuss your case with an actual attorney, contact us online or by phone. We’ll schedule you for a completely free, no-obligation case evaluation at your earliest convenience.