It can be devastating to receive a cancer diagnosis. A person may look for answers and struggle to find out how the cancer developed, only to realize that a product they’ve been using for years was the culprit. For people who have purchased hair relaxers and other chemical hair straighteners, this has become a new reality. Studies have found that many of these products contain toxic carcinogens that increase cancer risks.
What Is a Hair Relaxer?
A hair relaxer is a product frequently used by people with tight curls or curly hair. The product consists of a lotion or cream. If someone wants to straighten their hair, a hair relaxer can help this individual do just that.
Researchers estimate about 10 million people in the United States used a hair relaxer or similar hair care products in 2020. Several types of hair relaxers are available, and each has its own formulation. Common types of hair relaxers include:
- Thio Relaxers: Contain ammonium thioglycolate and tend to have a high pH concentration
- Alkaline and Lye Relaxers: Consist of sodium hydroxide, petroleum jelly, water, and emulsifiers and can be applied as a cream
- “No Lye” Relaxers: Use potassium hydroxide, lithium hydroxide, or another type of alkaline that is considered weaker than sodium hydroxide
Those who use hair relaxers or plan to do so should learn about the formulations behind them. This allows an individual to weigh the pros and cons of using a relaxer for hair. If a person has concerns about the chemicals utilized in a hair relaxer, this individual can find alternative hair treatment options.
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Are Relaxers for Hair Dangerous?
Hair relaxers can cause the hair to become weak and brittle. They can also damage a person’s skin. In some instances, hair relaxers can result in permanent hair loss.
Some hair relaxers contain formaldehyde, a chemical that has been linked to several types of cancer. Formaldehyde can cause a person to experience short-term symptoms like nausea and burning of the eyes, throat, and nose. It has also been associated with leukemia and rare cancers.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out formaldehyde can be harmful when it is inhaled. If a person frequently uses a hair relaxer that contains formaldehyde, this individual may face an increased risk of long-lasting health problems. This is reflected in myriad research to date.
What do Hair Relaxer and Cancer Studies Show?
In one study, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) used data from 33,497 U.S. women between the ages of 35 and 74 to identify risk factors for breast cancer and other health problems. NIH examined data spanning 11 years. Over the data set, 378 uterine cancer cases were diagnosed.
NIH found that women who used hair relaxers and other hair straightening products more than four times in the previous year were over twice as likely to develop uterine cancer in contrast to those who did not. The study’s lead author pointed out the overall risk of getting uterine cancer for women rose above 4% if they used hair relaxers or other hair straightening products. These women may face a wide range of immediate and long-term health problems due to their uterine cancer as well.
In another study, researchers found a link between hair relaxer products that contain lye (sodium hydroxide) and breast cancer. The study of 59,000 African American women revealed participants who used lye-based hair relaxers at least seven times a year had an elevated risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in comparison to those who used hair relaxers less frequently. Meanwhile, research shows Black women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are 40% more likely to die from the disease than white women.
What Should I do if I Am Diagnosed with Cancer and Use a Hair Relaxer?
Following a cancer diagnosis, continue to work in lockstep with a doctor. This allows an individual to explore ways to manage their cancer symptoms. A doctor can provide a patient with personalized cancer treatment.
It can be beneficial to meet with an attorney from a law firm that understands the challenges associated with hair relaxer lawsuits. A hair relaxer attorney can learn about a person’s case and help this individual pursue damages from any at-fault parties. If a person moves forward with a hair relaxer lawsuit, their lawyer offers legal help every step of the way.
Expect an attorney with hair relaxer case expertise to commit plenty of time, energy, and resources to help a client win or settle their case. The lawyer advocates on their client’s behalf and ensures this individual is well represented in court. This attorney also ensures their client can receive instant responses to any legal questions.
How does a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Work?
If a person wants to sue a company that produces a hair relaxer product, this individual must file a product liability lawsuit. A lawyer with hair relaxer case experience can help a person file this type of lawsuit. The attorney can make sure their client’s lawsuit is filed within their home state’s statute of limitations.
Once a hair relaxer lawsuit gets filed, a plaintiff and their lawyer work together to gather evidence. The plaintiff may provide medical records and other documents that highlight the severity of their cancer diagnosis. This evidence can compel a judge or jury to rule in a plaintiff’s favor.
It can take months or years before a hair relaxer lawsuit goes to trial. During this period, a hair relaxer lawyer and their client continue to strengthen their case. That way, the plaintiff and their attorney can present a compelling argument once their trial gets underway.
Where Can I Find an Attorney with Hair Relaxer Case Experience?
John Foy & Associates offers legal assistance to those who want to file a hair relaxer lawsuit. Our team can take a look at your legal claim and help you determine if now is the right time to sue a hair relaxer company. To learn more or request a free case evaluation, please contact us today.