A 32 year-old woman is suing L’Oréal, claiming hair straightening products caused her uterine cancer

A new lawsuit claims L’Oréal’s hair products contributed to uterine cancer in a 32-year-old woman.

Lawyers for Jenny Mitchell, a Missouri resident, sued L’Oréal and other cosmetic companies this week on Mitchell’s behalf, alleging they failed to warn her that hair straightening products contain chemicals associated with cancer. 

The suit claims prolonged exposure to phthalates, a class of chemicals found in some cosmetics, as well as endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can cause hormone imbalances, led to her cancer.

While researchers haven’t found a link between uterine cancer and exposure to phthalates in cosmetics, scientists are still studying whether other chemicals in hair products can contribute to cancer, particularly in Black women.

The suit states Mitchell, who is Black, began using chemical hair straighteners when she was 10, and continued regular use until March 2022. Doctors diagnosed Mitchell with uterine cancer in 2018 when she was 28. She didn’t have a family history of the disease, according to the lawsuit.

Uterine cancer is rare, making up 3.4% of new cancer cases so far this year. But deaths from uterine cancer are rising in the US, particularly among Black women, according to a recent analysis by the National Cancer Institute. People in their 20s make up just 1.8% of new uterine cancer cases annually.

“Black women have long been the victims of dangerous products specifically marketed to them,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who’s representing Mitchell on the case, said in a news release. “Black hair has been and always will be beautiful, but Black women have been told they have to use these products to meet society’s standards.”

L’Oréal and the other cosmetic brands listed in the suit did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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