Which chemicals in hair relaxers cause cancer?

There are dozens of harmful chemicals in hair relaxers, many of which are carcinogenic. Because these substances are also endocrine-disrupting, they have a strong association with hormone-dependent cancers such as uterine and ovarian cancer. While most of these chemicals are banned in the EU, they are still used as ingredients in cosmetics in the U.S.

answered by Gary Anderson

Phthalates exposure may increase cancer risk among children who use hair relaxers

While the first chemical hair relaxer was invented in 1909, these products became popular among Black women only at the end of the last century. Today, some companies aggressively market hair relaxers even to children. However, according to medical experts, changing a child's hair chemically before puberty is not recommended. Phthalates are just one class of toxic chemicals lurking in hair strengthening products. They are used as solvents in cosmetics, which speaks volumes about their hazardous nature. Frequent exposure to phthalates can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system, being able to lead to uterine and ovarian cancer in young adults.

In addition to phthalates, other carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in many hair relaxers on the market include:

  • formaldehyde
  • guanidine carbonate
  • bisphenol A
  • parabens
  • ammonium thioglycolate
  • dimethyl sulfoxide
  • cyclosiloxanes
  • diethanolamine

Still, it is important to keep in mind that exposure to some of the chemicals above does not result in cancer but can easily facilitate the development of a malignant disease, as they are endocrine-disrupting. When the hormonal system is disrupted, a higher estrogen level might be released in the body, which can increase the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer. Furthermore, many hair relaxers cause scalp burns and irritation due to the lye they contain, which promotes the infiltration of carcinogenic substances in the bloodstream. The greater the amount of toxic chemicals in the body, the greater the likelihood of developing a serious disease.

Our attorneys can quickly help you file a toxic hair relaxer claim

If you regularly use chemical hair relaxers and now struggle with uterine cancer, endometriosis, or ovarian cancer, you should contact our skilled attorneys, as they have over 30 years of experience in defective product and toxic exposure cases. Because the hair relaxer manufacturers failed to disclose the health risks of using their products to consumers, they might be liable. To determine whether you are eligible to file a toxic hair relaxer claim, all you have to do is send our legal team your medical records with your diagnosis and proof of having used chemical hair relaxers.

Eligible individuals will have their claims filed with each responsible manufacturer. Since we understand how challenging suffering from cancer can be, our compassionate legal team will make sure you can navigate every step of the process with ease, and it will also take care of the most complex aspects of the process on your behalf. If you feel too ill to proceed, a family member can step in and continue the legal process for you. Our skilled attorneys will go to great lengths to obtain the most favorable results for your case. It is also important to know that we work on a contingency fee basis.

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