Relaxers are a common hair care industry product used by hundreds of individuals. According to Statista, almost 10.38 million Americans used hair relaxers in 2020. This figure is supposed to go up to 10.51 million in 2024. However, the product has sparked controversy in recent years.
They have been linked to cancer, and numerous victims are filing lawsuits against manufacturers for the same. In this article, we’ll explore the history and legal battles surrounding relaxers. We’ll also look at how they became so popular among African Americans and how they’re viewed by consumers today.
The Rise of Hair Relaxers
The rise of hair relaxers is closely tied to the history of African-American hair care and beauty standards. Hair relaxers are chemical products that are used to straighten or loosen tightly curled hair. The popularity of hair relaxers can be traced back to the early 20th century. Their widespread use reflects societal attitudes towards beauty and hair texture.
During the early 1900s, a desire for straighter hair among African-American women emerged. This resulted from the Eurocentric beauty standards that began to influence perceptions of attractiveness.
In the mid-20th century, chemical relaxers became more widely available. These products typically contained harsh chemicals like sodium hydroxide or lye, which could break the protein bonds in hair, allowing it to be straightened.
The 1960s and 1970s saw an increased demand for straightened hair among African-American women. The civil rights movement and the rise of the Black is Beautiful movement also influenced perceptions of beauty. Some women chose to embrace natural hair, while others sought straightened styles.
The Controversies Unveiled
The controversies surrounding relaxer products are around health concerns. This is by far the most controversial issue, as studies have shown a correlation between using relaxers and developing cancerous tumors.
According to TorHoerman Law, hair relaxers are associated with a higher risk of uterine, breast, and ovarian cancer. Many women who have been constantly using hair relaxers have already fallen victim to such health concerns. Hence, the manufacturers of these products are facing legal scrutiny for being negligent.
Other side effects include nausea, headaches, dizziness, and even hair loss. A controlled study was conducted to monitor the symptoms. The results published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases show several minor symptoms, too. The study conducted on 26 patients revealed abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting as the most common symptoms. Rashes on the scalp were noted in 38% of the patients.
Some recent research also shows that relaxers can cause birth defects if you are pregnant while using them or shortly before conception. People who have faced health problems are filing a hair relaxer lawsuit.
Legal Battles Unfold
As more and more people start filing hair relaxer lawsuits, the legal battle unfolds. Many victims have already filed cases. If you or a loved one have used these products and subsequently faced health challenges, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit.
To be eligible for the hair relaxer cancer lawsuit, individuals must meet the following criteria:
- Use of chemical hair products: You or your loved one must have used chemical hair relaxers, hair straightening products, or similar hair treatments.
- Health complications: Subsequently, you or your loved one must have developed some cancer or other health problems linked to the use of these hair products.
If you meet the eligibility criteria, it is crucial to consider taking legal action to seek justice. You can seek compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial toll these health challenges may have imposed. Filing a hair relaxer cancer lawsuit allows individuals to hold responsible parties accountable for the potential harm caused by these products.
Navigating a lawsuit can be complex, and having legal support is essential. Knowledgeable attorneys specializing in product liability and personal injury cases can guide you through the legal process. They can help you understand your rights and options.
The number of cases against hair relaxer manufacturers is rising. These lawsuits are also being consolidated to ensure smooth proceedings. According to an article from The Guardian, at least 60 hair relaxer lawsuits will be combined in a Chicago Federal Court. The cases show allegations hair relaxers cause cancer and other health issues. Another 57 have been filed in courts across the states.
The industry has responded to the controversy in several ways. The most obvious response is that manufacturers have shifted their advertising strategies away from promoting hair relaxer products as “safe” and “natural.” Instead, they are now focusing on how easy they are to use and how long-lasting their results are.
A second response has been an increased emphasis on safety warnings and instructions for consumers on labels. This includes information about the potential hazards associated with the use of the product and directions for proper storage of bottles after opening.
In addition to these direct responses, there have also been some indirect ones. For instance, changes have been made at factories where these products are produced around the world to ensure that they meet current regulatory standards.
These changes include:
- Stricter quality control measures during manufacturing processes so that only safe ingredients enter into production
- Increased training sessions for workers handling chemicals used for hair straightening
- Better air filtration systems within factories; increased monitoring around chemical spills/leaks outside production areas
The Consumer Perspective
As a consumer, it’s important to know what’s in the products you use. You should also be aware of their risks and side effects and how they affect your health.
For instance, the National Institutes of Health released a report stating an increased risk of hormonal cancers in women who use relaxers. The risk of uterine cancers also goes up by 4.05% within age 70. As a consumer, you should be aware of any such problems associated with any product.
You must also read the ingredients of any product before making a purchase. The safety information on hair relaxers is often confusing or misleading. For example, some brands will say “formaldehyde free” but then list formaldehyde-releasing ingredients (such as quaternion-15) in their ingredients list.
The best way to avoid this confusion is by looking at ingredient lists. If you see any chemicals that end with “-ene” (like methylene glycol or propylene glycol), those are likely to release formaldehyde.
To conclude, the hair relaxer industry is large, with millions of dollars invested in research and development each year. It has also been plagued by controversy since its inception. However, these days are behind us as we move towards a more sustainable future where all products are safe for use.