The High Price of Chemical Hair Relaxers
A new bride, anxiously looking toward the day that she could announce to her groom and the world that she was pregnant. But that was not to happen for Kenya Appling, who, instead of creating a new family, underwent a hysterectomy to address uterine cancer. Without having any known risk factors, she concluded that her cancer grew from decades using chemical hair straighteners. And she is not alone in that conclusion.
The Scientific Connection
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Black women who used these chemical hair straighteners frequently in their lives are 200 percent more likely to develop uterine cancer later in their lives due to the impact of phthalates and parabens, which cause serious disruptions in the endocrine system. For some Black women, the cancer appears during childbearing years; for others, it is a post-menopausal surprise. For some, it grows to include breast cancer. There are even connections between these products and obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions. While the link between products and poor health outcomes is clear, the NIH has refrained from naming the products as an actual cause, and notes that in some cases women suffer less tragic outcomes such as fibroids or cysts. L’oreal and Revlon are battling any such causality, claiming that lawsuits claiming as much are without merit. But whether using these products results in cysts and fibroids or actual cancer, the results have been devastating for Black women across the country. In fact, the death rates for Black women in this country are double that of white women when it comes to uterine cancer.
While a randomized trial would likely clarify any questions related to the cases of uterine cancer, the ethics of running such a clinical study make it impossible. Instead, experts say strict regulation of straightening products and more alternatives must be made available. When products are associated with such ominous side effects, people need to know that using them warrants greater consideration.
The Mental Damage
Fighting cancer is a hideous battle, as any cancer survivor can tell you. Going through chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and years of hormone treatments can take a toll on women, who are also dealing with the terrible news that they will never be able to bear children. Further, consider the fact that Black women have suffered societal pressure to conform to white standards of beauty for generations, and complying with those expectations is what caused their physical problems to begin with. Many women continue to straighten their hair today in order to keep their jobs and “fit in” despite the serious health concerns.
The Battle Rages
Have you suffered serious health consequences as a result of using chemical straighteners over a period of years? Would you like to pursue legal action in order to hold companies liable for the damage their products cause? At the Salazar & Kelly Law Group, our Kissimmee personal injury lawyers feel the same way. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.