TUESDAY, Oct. 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- A Missouri woman has sued L'Oréal and several other beauty product companies, alleging that their hair-straightening products caused her uterine cancer.
The lawsuit claims that Jenny Mitchell's cancer "was directly and proximately caused by her regular and prolonged exposure to phthalates and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in defendants' hair care products."
Mitchell, now 32, was diagnosed with cancer on Aug. 10, 2018, and had a hysterectomy the following month. Mitchell first used chemical relaxers in third grade. She used the products from about 2000 to March 2022.
"As most young African-American girls, chemical relaxers, chemical straighteners were introduced to us at a young age," Mitchell told 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.'"
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a study published last week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that showed the risk for developing uterine cancer in women who use chemical hair-straightening products was 4 percent by age 70 years compared with 1.6 percent in those who had not used any of the products in the previous 12 months. The products are much more common among Black women than White women, with the former comprising 7.4 percent of the study participants but 59.9 percent of those ever using straighteners.
L'Oréal, Namaste Laboratories LLC, Dabur International Ltd., and Godrej Consumer Products, parent company of the Just For Me brand, did not respond to requests for comment, CNN said. Similar lawsuits have been filed against cosmetic companies in California and New York.