Hair Straighteners Linked to Uterine Cancer: Understanding the Legal Battle

Recent lawsuits have linked hair straighteners to an increased risk of uterine cancer. These lawsuits allege that the products contain potentially carcinogenic chemicals and should have warning labels about the potential risks.

The results could be a major shift in how companies are required to label their products, but it will also impact consumers’ daily routines regarding beauty products. So what is this all about? In this article, we’ll explore what’s happening with these lawsuits.

The Link Between Hair Straighteners and Uterine Cancer

Research has suggested that certain chemicals in hair straightening products, specifically those containing formaldehyde, may increase the risk of developing uterine cancer.

The American Cancer Society stated that according to research at the US National Institute of Health (NIH), women who use chemical hair straighteners may have a higher risk of developing uterine cancer.

The researchers used data from 33,000 women who took part in the Sister Study, which is an ongoing study of risk factors in women for breast cancer and other health conditions.

After 11 years of follow-up, it was seen that women who used hair straightening products had double the risk of developing uterine cancer than those who did not.

While more research is needed to fully understand this link, these findings have sparked concerns and legal battles over the safety of hair straighteners.

The Types of Hair Straighteners That Are Thought to Be Linked to Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer hair straighteners contain formaldehyde or release formaldehyde gas when heated. Formaldehyde is commonly used as a preservative and is added to hair straightening products to help bond the hair to the straightening chemicals.

The most popular hair straightening treatment that contains formaldehyde is the Brazilian keratin treatment. The risk of uterine cancer arises because formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, meaning it has the potential to cause cancer.

When hair straighteners containing formaldehyde are heated, the formaldehyde can be released into the air, which can then be inhaled. This inhalation can result in formaldehyde being absorbed into the body, potentially increasing the risk of uterine cancer.

 Overview of the Legal Battle

The legal battle over hair straighteners and uterine cancer has primarily focused on lawsuits filed by consumers against hair straightener manufacturers.

According to, women who used hair straighteners and later developed uterine cancer and other health hazards filed lawsuits naming manufacturers like L’Oreal, Namaste, and Dark & Lovely as defendants.

Chemicals in hair straighteners include formaldehyde, cyclosiloxanes, parabens, diethanolamine, phthalates, sodium hydroxide,  benzophenone-3, and triclosan, according to California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control.

The plaintiffs argued these companies sold these harmful products even when they knew they could cause cancer and failed to warn the public.

The Arguments Put Forward by Both the Plaintiffs and Defendants

According to a report published on Reuter, Jennifer Mitchell (a plaintiff) has accused L’Oreal that their products have caused her uterine cancer. She has asked the company to pay for damages and medical monitoring.

Mitchell’s lawyer commented that they were representing other clients who were facing similar circumstances. Also, Mitchell said that there would be more lawsuits against the product as more women come forward to seek accountability for the product.

On the other hand, defendants have argued that hair straighteners are safe when used as directed and that the risks associated with formaldehyde exposure are overstated. Some defendants have also argued that the levels of formaldehyde in their products are within safe limits established by regulatory agencies like the FDA.

Defendants have further argued that they have taken steps to improve the safety of their products, such as reformulating them to reduce or eliminate formaldehyde.

 The Current Regulatory Environment for Hair Straighteners

Regulatory agencies like the FDA in the United States oversee the regulation of hair straighteners and other beauty products. The FDA has established guidelines for the safe use of formaldehyde in cosmetic products, including hair straighteners.

Manufacturers are required to list formaldehyde on product labels and are prohibited from using levels of formaldehyde that exceed certain limits. However, critics have argued that these regulations are insufficient and that they do not adequately protect consumers from the potential risks of these products.

Some consumer advocacy groups have called for greater oversight and regulation of the beauty industry, including increased testing and disclosure requirements for hair straighteners and other cosmetic products.

The Potential Impacts of These Lawsuits on the Hair Straightener Industry

The lawsuits over hair straighteners and uterine cancer have the potential to significantly impact both the hair straightener industry and the broader beauty industry.

If more research confirms the link between hair straighteners and uterine cancer, it could lead to greater scrutiny of these products and potentially even stricter regulation. This could result in changes to the formulations and labeling of hair straighteners, as well as increased testing and safety requirements.

The lawsuits could also have broader implications for the beauty industry, highlighting the need for greater transparency and disclosure about the potential health risks of cosmetic products. This could result in increased consumer awareness and demand for safer, more natural beauty products.


Hair straighteners are a popular tool to help you achieve the look you want. However, they may also be linked to certain health risks and side effects. Contact an attorney today for a free case review if you have experienced any problems with these products or have been injured due to their use.

By Clare Louise