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Are Chemical Hair Straighteners Safe?

December 30, 2023 | Injury Law

The appeal of achieving smooth, shiny hair often leads individuals to use chemical hair straighteners. However, alongside this promise comes concerns about their safety. Knowing about these potential risks and how to address them should you experience adverse health effects is essential.

What Are Chemical Straighteners?

Chemical straighteners are potent products that can transform the structure of your hair. Your strands consist of a protein called keratin, which contains molecules known as sulfides. These sulfides create strong disulfide bonds that cause your hair to curl or bend.

Permanent hair straightening processes work by using chemicals to break these natural disulfide bonds responsible for forming and holding curls. By essentially disrupting the protein makeup of each strand –or altering its structural integrity– chemical straighteners effectively change curly or wavy hair into straight hair.

The Dangers of Chemical Hair Straighteners

While the ability of chemical hair straighteners to transform your hair might seem appealing, it’s worth considering their potential dangers.

Immediate or short-term side effects can arise such as scalp irritation and damage to your hair due to its natural protein structure being disrupted. Long-term health risks associated with these products also include serious conditions like uterine and breast cancer, fibroids, and endometriosis.

Parabens, commonly found in hair care products including chemical straighteners, are also of concern. These chemicals can lead to hormonal dysfunction. This is particularly worrisome for adolescent girls going through puberty as their bodies are highly sensitive to hormonal changes during this critical developmental period.

In addition to consumers who use these products personally, salon professionals who often apply them may bear significant risks.

Studies About The Dangers of Chemical Straighteners

Recent research studies have flagged potential health risks associated with chemical straighteners. A 2022 study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that women who use these products more than four times per year had double the risk of developing uterine cancer compared to those who didn’t use them.

Additionally, an earlier NIH study from 2019 revealed an increased likelihood of breast and ovarian cancers among female users. These findings are especially concerning for Black women; they’re not only more likely to utilize hair straighteners but also tend to use them regularly, amplifying their exposure to these chemicals and subsequently increasing their risk.

Lawsuits Related to Chemical Straighteners

Lawsuits related to the potential high risk and harmful consequences of using chemical hair straighteners are on the rise.

There were about 275 active lawsuits regarding chemical hair straighteners’ toxic compounds in an Illinois federal court since August 2023.

Plaintiffs are seeking compensation not only for incurred medical expenses but also for lost income alongside mental distress endured. They argue that manufacturers either knew—or should’ve known—about the potential dangers their products were presenting.

As stories of harm by these treatments continue to emerge, legal experts anticipate a surge in cases from individuals who have had adverse reactions or those who have been diagnosed with cancer after using chemical hair straighteners regularly.

A Lawyer Can Help You Determine If You Have a Claim

If you believe you might qualify for a lawsuit due to health issues caused by chemical hair straighteners, a lawyer can be of assistance. They’ll assess your circumstances, figure out if you qualify to seek legal recourse and assist in gathering vital documentation like medical records that underpin the legitimacy of your claim. If you need assistance in such a situation, reach out to us today to arrange a free consultation.