A federal lawsuit has been filed in Chicago against five major cosmetic manufacturers, including L’Oreal, over allegations that their hair straightening products can cause uterine cancer. The lawsuit was filed by a St. Louis woman, Jenny Mitchell, who claims that exposure to phthalates and endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in the hair care products led to her cancer diagnosis.

The lawsuit alleges that endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly found in hair straightening products, such as DI-2-Ethylhexylphthalate, or DEHP, can cause uterine cancer. The lawsuit also points towards a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Health that shows that women who used chemical straighteners were at a higher risk of developing uterine cancer.

The study involved over 33,000 women who participated over a decade, with 378 of them developing uterine cancer. The study found that those who reported using chemical hair relaxers were more than twice as likely to develop the disease than those who did not use them. The lawsuit argues that cosmetic companies have failed to provide adequate warnings and instructions to consumers about the potential risks associated with their products.

Mitchell’s lawsuit specifically names L’Oreal USA Inc., L’Oreal USA Products Inc., Strength of Nature Global LLC, Soft Sheen Carson (W.I.) Inc., Dabur International Ltd., and Dabur USA Inc., and Namaste Laboratories as defendants. The complaint states that these companies directly and proximately led to Mitchell’s cancer diagnosis, alleging that the companies were aware of the risks associated with their products but failed to adequately warn consumers.

Mitchell’s lawsuit is not the first legal action taken against these companies over their hair straightening products. In 2016, a California jury awarded $26.3 million to a woman who claimed that she developed mesothelioma, a type of cancer, after using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products. In 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced that it would no longer sell talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada.

As consumers become more aware of the potential risks associated with certain cosmetic products, it is likely that more lawsuits will be filed against cosmetic companies. These lawsuits could force companies to change their formulas and warning labels to better inform consumers of the potential risks associated with their products. In the meantime, consumers are advised to exercise caution and do their research before using any cosmetic products.

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