Many women in the United States use hair dyes or straighteners on a regular basis. However, the results of a new study show that these women may be at risk of developing breast cancer with regular use of these products. This risk is even more pronounced in African-American women who used chemical hair straighteners. This is the first study of its type that has reached these results. Should it be proven in the future that these hair products have caused any specific case of cancer, the makers of these hair care offerings could face product liability lawsuits.
Hair dye products have already proven to be less than safe for the women who use them. This merchandise literally contains thousands of different chemicals that are already known to cause other health issues. The names of some of these chemicals, such as Propylene Glycol, are literally frightening. These products have already been shown to induce asthma and other hormone illnesses in women.
In fact, many hair care products contain over 5,000 chemicals. When women apply them to their hair, the chemicals come into contact with the skin and can also enter the bloodstream. Once this happens, the chemicals can be carried to the breast tissue, possibly causing cancer.
The hair care product market is only lightly regulated. The FDA does not regulate all types of hair care products, and the ones that it does do not require approval from the regulator. There are only some broad statutory provisions that apply to hair care offerings that include a provision against mislabeling and making false claims. Thus, most of the hair care products on the market have not been subject to government testing. The FDA does not order recalls of products and is only in the position of monitoring recalls.
As a result, many products are not sufficiently tested for product safety. This evaluation is not often performed by the manufacturer, and, only at times does it get evaluated by an outside party.
There was a recent study that aimed to focus on the link between permanent hair dyes and breast cancer. In the past, the connection between the two was speculated, but there was no concrete analysis performed to further document the link. What the researchers found was concerning, especially for women who frequently used these hair care products.
The primary reason for the higher rate of cancer is the composition of these hair dyes. Permanent hair dyes contain hormone-disrupting compounds and carcinogens. The general public is not fully informed about the contents of their hair care products and is at risk for developing breast cancer,
The problem is even greater when it comes to the hair products used by African-American women. These often contain chemicals that are more potent and have higher health risks. Studies have shown that these hair care products have an even higher rate of cancer due to the chemical content. These chemical straighteners include formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen. 74 percent of African-American women use hair straighteners, leading to a higher rate of cancer.
In addition, African-American are more likely to use permanent hair dyes more often than white women. This leads to a much higher risk of cancer among African-American women. Haircare products that are designed for African-American women have a different chemical composition and often contain many more chemicals and more potent ones at that.
Still, the FDA has stated that it does not see “reliable evidence” of a connection between hair dyes and cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has also said that hair products are not a carcinogen. In addition, the cosmetics industry is vigorously defending itself, claiming that hair care products have already been thoroughly studied and there is no link between these offerings and cancer.
The scary part of this is that women end up unprotected because there is no way of knowing exactly what is in the product that they are applying to their heads. The types of chemicals are too long to list on the box and the regulatory protections are weak. Further, although the law prevents false claims and mismarketing, there are few ways to know if the manufacturers are violating the law. In other words, there is little that women can do to prevent complications outside of taking extra care when they apply the products to their hair.
Outside of that, given the number of carcinogens both in the world at large and in hair care products, it is not easy to prove that there was an agent in the haircare product that caused cancer. This makes it difficult to hold the product manufacturer liable.
Class action lawsuits are frequently filed against hair care product companies for various things such as misrepresentations made in their marketing. There have also been lawsuits filed by consumer groups in the past when these products were found to contain carcinogens. However, there have been few, if any, personal injury lawsuits filed against these companies. Now, in the wake of new research, there is a possibility that some plaintiffs may come forward with claims that their cases of breast cancer were caused by the hair dyes and straighteners that they used often for prolonged periods of time.
There was one product liability lawsuit against a hair care company that was settled in 2014. The plaintiffs sued the maker of the product because it was marketed as not containing any formaldehyde. Then, tests revealed that the claim was not true and the users were exposed to a carcinogen. The maker of the product settled the case for $10.2 million. This lawsuit, however, was filed on the grounds of untruthful marketing as opposed to a specific personal injury suffered by any one of the plaintiffs other than exposure to a carcinogen. If anything, this recent study may lead to further claims of improper marketing against hair product companies.
If you or a loved one has used permanent hair dyes or straighteners and has been diagnosed with breast cancer, contact an attorney at The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates today to discuss your legal rights.