A Missouri woman has filed a lawsuit against L'Oreal SA, claiming that the French cosmetic company's hair-straightening products caused her to acquire uterine cancer.
The complaint was filed on Friday in federal court in Chicago, days after a US National Institute of Environmental Health Safety (NIEHS) study revealed that frequent users of hair-straightening products may have a much higher risk of uterine cancer.
Jennifer Mitchell, the plaintiff, claimed that she used L'Oreal products starting around 2000, when she was ten years old, and that she was later given a uterine cancer diagnosis in 2018. She is requesting that the court order L'Oreal to pay unspecified monetary damages as well as cover the cost of medical surveillance.
Mitchell's attorney, Diandra Debrosse Zimmermann, said that her firm already had other clients with comparable needs. Given that many women will be coming out in the coming weeks and months to seek responsibility, she predicted that there will likely be more lawsuits in the future.
L'Oreal was asked for a reaction, but it wasn't given right away.
Uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in the United States, and rates are rising, especially among Black women, according to federal government data. According to NIEHS researcher Che-Jung Chang, the most recent study may be particularly significant for Black women, who use hair straighteners earlier and more frequently than people of other races.
Mitchell, a Black woman, claims that L'Oreal intentionally targeted Black women and girls with their hair-straightening products and failed to warn them of the hazards, while knowing since at least 2015 that the products included potentially hazardous chemicals.
The lawsuit claimed that the business substantially benefited from unethical and criminal activity that led the plaintiff to purchase and regularly use a harmful and faulty product.