Four black women are suing L’Oreal for cancer they claim was caused by the company’s relaxer products
Four Black women claim that L’Oréal’s relaxer products caused them to develop uterine cancer and other serious health problems.
55-year-old Rhonda Terrell, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of uterine cancer that spread to her abdomen and liver, underwent a hysterectomy and chemotherapy. After being diagnosed with uterine and breast cancer, Bernadette Gordon underwent a hysterectomy and double mastectomy, along with months of chemotherapy.
The two women both underwent hysterectomies following uterine cancer diagnoses, Rugieyatu Bhonopha, 39, and Jenny Mitchell, 32.
The company’s hair straightening products were used by all of the women for a long time.
Terrell admitted to using the product between age 8 and her early 40s, while Gorden used the product from 1983 to 2015.
As Terrell continued, “I would never have used it if they had a warning on the box saying it could cause cancer. And by having granddaughters, I want to hold them responsible.”
“It’s really difficult to have to come to terms with being a woman with fibroids and pregnancy loss,” Bhonopha told NBC. She added, “And you didn’t know these products were dangerous.” If you knew these harmful products were in it, you wouldn’t have used them.”
NIH researchers published a study last month that showed women who use hair-straightening chemicals are twice as likely to develop uterine cancer as those who don’t.
Compared to their counterparts, Black women are more likely to have health problems, according to Dr. Che-Jung Chang. The findings may be even more relevant for Black women, since they use hair straightening or relaxer products more frequently and start using them sooner. According to NBC, all the women in the lawsuit said they didn’t realize chemical hair straighteners increased their cancer risk until the study was published. The packaging also failed to warn about cancer risks, a source explained to them. In response to the company, “L’Oréal believes our products are safe, and the lawsuits filed against us have no legal merit.” “L’Oréal adheres to the highest standards of safety in all of its products,” the company said in a statement. Experts rigorously evaluate the safety of our products, ensuring that we strictly adhere to all laws and regulations in every market where we operate.”