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Hair Straightening Products Linked to Cancer and Other 
Uterine Conditions


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What does research tell us about the link between hair straightening products and uterine conditions, including cancer?

A new study shows that women who had used chemical hair straighteners and relaxers four or more times per year had double the risk of developing cancer by age 70 compared to those who had not used the product over the past 12 months.

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Find out easily if you qualify to file a legal claim.

What did scientists look for in the study?

The study was based on data compiled from the questionnaires of nearly 34,000 women in the United States. The women, 35 to 74, were asked about their use of hair products including dyes, perming solutions, relaxers, and straighteners.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health tracked cancer diagnoses and other uterine conditions within the groups.

What were the findings?

Chemical hair straighteners have been linked to:

  • A strong association was found between hair straightening products and uterine conditions, including cancer, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis.
  • The association was stronger among Black women
  • Just 7.4 percent of the study participants were Black women—but close to 60 percent had reported using straighteners 

What is uterine cancer?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, uterine cancer includes the more common endometrial cancer and rare uterine carcinoma. Endometrial cancer develops in the endometrium or lining of the uterus.

Uterine cancer occurs when there is a change in the cells in the uterus. These mutated or changed cells can grow and multiply out of control to form a mass called a tumor.

EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database

The group added over 1,000 products marketed to Black women to its Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database, including hair relaxers.

  • The 15 hair relaxers evaluated scored an average of 8.1, in the range of products to avoid
  • 13 of the relaxers claimed to be “no-lye,” presumed to be a safer alternative
  • Analysis showed the products contained other hazardous ingredients like parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
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EWG Study: “Highly Hazardous” Ingredients in Products Marketed to Black Women

The two most common hair straightening products marketed to Black women and girls involve relaxers and texturizers. Lye and other harsh ingredients break down chemical bonds in the hair.

A 2016 study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 1 in 12 beauty and personal care products marketed to Black women contained "highly hazardous” ingredients. According to the report, hair relaxers were among the most dangerous of the products.

According to the report, hair relaxers were among the most dangerous of the products.

What are symptoms of uterine cancer?

Symptoms of uterine cancer can resemble many other health conditions. However, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider if you notice any unusual pain, discharge, or bleeding. An accurate and early diagnosis is essential to getting the right treatment.

See if I Qualify

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or other uterine conditions after using chemical hair relaxers, you may be entitled to compensation.

Contact us for a free case evaluation.