Study finds link between certain hair products and increased cancer risk

CHARLOTTE — A study by the National Institutes of Health found a link between the frequent use of certain hair products and an increased risk of uterine cancer.

Some women are rethinking their beauty routines after a study showed a possible link between hair straighteners and some hormonal cancers. Dozens of people have joined a federal lawsuit against several beauty companies over their products.

Action 9′s Madison Carter dug into the research and learned what you need to know before you book your next appointment.

Chemical straighteners have given people the ability to change their hair texture and style to follow the latest trend. Charlotte stylist Dre Remsuer first heard about the research warning a few months back.

“I’ve been doing relaxers since 1987,” Ramseur said.

She had the products applied to her own hair dating back to around 1984 and did so until last year.

Jacqueline Greer, of Cornelius, also started getting chemical relaxers in the 80s and is now suing over the relaxers after she said she was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2020, a uterine disorder.

According to the lawsuit Carter uncovered, Greer wants more than $75,000 in damages from L’Oréal, Soft Sheen and Avlon, the makers of popular box relaxers that can be bought in stores.

The lawsuit alleges Greer was diagnosed with endometriosis because of “prolonged exposure to....chemicals found in defendant’s hair products.”

It’s one of a growing number of lawsuits across the country claiming that L’Oreal and other companies sell products that are linked to health problems. Those lawsuits come after the National Institutes of Health studied more than 33,000 women. The research also found that women who used chemical hair straighteners were twice as likely to develop uterine cancer.

However, doctors say the type of cancer is relatively rare.

The study also found that most of the women who reported using chemical straightening products were black because of how early relaxers are introduced to black girls and how regularly they’re used.

“When you come to talk about box relaxers, they were created for consumers, not for professionals,” Ramseur said.

Ramseur said when it comes to chemical straighteners, it’s all about application and protecting the scalp before applying any chemicals near it.

“I do not encourage people to purchase chemicals out of the store to please see a professional,” Ramseur said. “And when you go to your professional --vet the professional.”

While the study found a link between using the product and developing cancer, researchers also acknowledged there was not enough evidence to show it caused the damage.

Carter was unable to reach Greer and her lawyers did not respond to requests for comments.

L’Oréal said in a response to Greer’s suit that they uphold the highest safety standards for their products.

Read their full statement below:

“Our highest priority is the health, wellness, and safety of all our consumers. We are confident in the safety of our products and believe the recent lawsuits filed against us have no scientific or legal merit.  L’Oréal upholds the highest standards of safety for all its products. Our products are subject to a rigorous scientific evaluation of their safety by experts who also ensure that we follow strictly all regulations in every market in which we operate.”

Carter has not heard back from Soft Sheen or Avlon.

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Madison Carter

Madison Carter, wsoctv.com

Madison is an investigative reporter and anchor for Channel 9.