Around 57 lawsuits have been filed in federal courts in the US against L'Oreal USA Inc and other companies claiming that hair relaxer products sold by these companies cause cancer and other health problems. According to an order from the US judicial panel on multidistrict litigation, the lawsuits claim that the hair products use chemicals to permanently straighten textured hair, which are dangerous. It further alleged that the companies know their products contained dangerous chemicals despite that they marketed and sold them anyway.
The litigations have named the US subsidiary of L’Oréal USA and subsidiaries of India-based companies Godrej SON Holdings Inc and Dabur International Ltd.
The order further added that the actions will be centralised into multidistrict litigation before US district judge Mary Rowland, which will streamline discovery efforts and other pretrial issues for the cases.
In response to the lawsuits filed, L’Oréal said it is “confident in the safety of our products and believe the recent lawsuits filed against us have no legal merit,” a Reuters report said.
The lawsuits were filed following the publication of a National Institutes of Health study in October that found women who used the products multiple times a year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer. As per the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in the US, and the rates are alarmingly rising, particularly among young Black women.
“We estimated that 1.64 per cent of women who never used hair straighteners would go on to develop uterine cancer by the age of 70, but for frequent users, that risk goes up to 4.05 per cent,” study leader Alexandra White of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Safety said in a public statement.
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