Woman Claims Hair Straightener Caused Uterine Cancer, Files Lawsuit in Chicago – NBC Chicago

Woman Claims Hair Straightener Caused Uterine Cancer, Files Lawsuit in Chicago  NBC Chicago
L’Oreal’s hair straighteners caused woman’s cancer, lawsuit claims  Reuters
Woman claims hair relaxer caused her uterine cancer in new laws…


Thirty-two-year-old Jenny Mitchell had been using chemical hair relaxers and straighteners for more than two decades by the time of her diagnosis of uterine cancer. After a full hysterectomy, she said she is now experiencing menopause.

On Friday, Mitchell filed a lawsuit against L’Oreal, USA, one of a number of companies that make chemical hair straighteners and relaxers typically marketed to African American women.

Mitchell said she now must monitor her health and set aside her dream of becoming a mother.

“I am still feeling the void of not being able to bear my own child,” she said.

Mitchell is represented by nationally known civil rights attorney Ben Crump. He claims 95% of all Black women use chemical relaxers or straighteners and pointed to a study released last week by the National Institutes of Health that found women who use chemical hair straighteners face a higher risk of developing uterine cancer.

“I am the father of a Black daughter, and I am horrified by these revelations,” Crump said at a news conference staged in front of Chicago’s Dirksen Federal Building, where the lawsuit was filed.

Trish Crowder, a Chicago-area stylist who has been working with straighteners for almost 30 years, said some of her clients have issues similar to Mitchell’s.

“It makes me nervous because I am a person who has used straightening products and chemicals as well,” Crowder said.

In a statement sent to NBC Chicago, L’Oréal stood by its products.

“We are confident in the safety of our products and believe the recent lawsuits filed against us have no legal merit,” the statement read. “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.”

Crump said he is writing to the Federal Department of Health and Human Services asking that it pull all chemical relaxers from the market. He also cautioned parents.

“If you are out there, and you have little Black girls, stop today using these chemical relaxers,” Crump said.

Crowder said the study and the lawsuit are changing the advice she is giving clients about using straightening products.

“Just stay away from it,” Crowder said. “Just go natural. Wear your own hair.”

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