Several beauty product companies, including L’Oréal, are being sued by a black woman in Missouri who alleges that their hair-straightening products caused her uterine cancer.
Jenny Mitchell, 32, claims to have developed uterine cancer from “prolonged exposure to phthalates and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in defendants’ hair care products.”
She claims that hair straightening products caused her to develop uterine cancer. The third grade was the first time Mitchell used chemical relaxers and used them from 2000 all the way until March 2022. Mitchell was diagnosed with cancer in August 2018 and underwent a hysterectomy a few months later.
At that time, at the age of 28, my dreams of becoming a mother were gone,
Mitchell told CNN recently.
As most young African American girls, chemical relaxers, and chemical straighteners were introduced to us at a young age, 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.
L’Oréal, Namaste Laboratories LLC, Dabur International Ltd., and Godrej Consumer Products, the parent company of Just For Me, are being sued for more than $75,000 in damages.
The suit will be handled by Ben Crump, an attorney who specializes in civil rights law.
Black women have long been the victims of dangerous products specifically marketed to them. Black hair has been and always will be beautiful, but Black women have been told they have to use these products to meet society’s standards. We will likely discover that Ms. Mitchell’s tragic case is one of countless cases in which companies aggressively misled black women to increase their profits.
Yet, Mitchell isn’t alone in fighting for justice. Just recently, two more lawsuits alleging a link between hair straightening chemicals and cancer were filed in California and New York against L’Oréal and several other cosmetic companies. These suits also allege a link between chemical straightening products and cancer diagnosis.
In a study released a short while ago, the National Institutes of Health found that women who use chemical hair straightening products are more likely to develop uterine cancer.
We estimated that 1.64% of women who never used hair straighteners would go on to develop uterine cancer by the age of 70; but for frequent users, that risk goes up to 4.05%.
Alexandra White, Ph.D., head of the NIEHS Environment and Cancer Epidemiology group and lead author on the new study said.