The Chicago Journal

L’Oreal struck with lawsuit regarding uterine cancer

L’Oréal is one of the parties being sued for claims that its products put women at risk of developing uterine cancer.

The lawsuit

Last Friday, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and attorney Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann filed a lawsuit in Illinois.

The lawsuit is on behalf of Jenny Mitchell, a 32-year-old woman from Missouri.

They claim Mitchell’s uterine cancer was caused by her regular and prolonged exposure to hair care products from companies like L’Oreal.

According to the claims, the products contain phthalates and other chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system.

Debrosse Zimmermann says the lawsuit marks a “watershed moment” for women of color who use hair products like relaxers.

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Jenny Mitchell

The lawsuit says Jenny Mitchell was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2018.

In addition, she underwent a total hysterectomy on September 24, 2018, at the Boone Hospital in Missouri.

Mitchell says her family has no history of cancer.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, she said she started straightening her hair when she was eight.

“At that time, at the age of 28, my dreams of becoming a mother were gone,” said Mitchell.

“As most young African-American girls, chemical relaxers, chemical straighteners were introduced to us at a young age.”

“Society has made it a norm to look a certain way in order to feel a certain way,” she continued.

“And I am the first voice of many voice to come that will stand, stand up to these companies, and say, ‘No more.'”

From the early 2000s to March 2022, Jenny Mitchell used L’Oreal and other hair straightening products.

As a result, she is seeking $75,000 in damages.

Other cases

Jenny Mitchell is not alone in the lawsuit.

Two other individual lawsuits are filed against L’Oreal and other cosmetics companies in California and New York.

The two cases also claim hair straightener chemicals and the cancer diagnoses are linked.

“We imagine that we will continue representing additional women in filing cases,” said Debrosse Zimmerman.

“As will other firms, and more and more women will come forward.”

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Mitchell’s lawsuit follows a study by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which found relations with her case.

The publication states that 4% of women who regularly use chemicals to straighten their hair are at risk of uterine cancer by age 70.

Additionally, the study estimates that women who haven’t used chemicals to straighten their hair in the past 12 months have a 1.6% risk of developing uterine cancer.

Furthermore, it says that Black women were more likely to use hair straightening products than White women.

To summarize, the data show that the relationship between hair straighteners and cervical cancer cases was more evident in Black women.

However, Black women only comprised 7.4% of study participants, and 59.9% reported using straightening products.

Other factors play a role in the frequent use of hair straightening products, such as:

  • Eurocentric standards of beauty
  • Social pressure on Black and Latina women in the work environment relating to microaggression and threat of discrimination
  • Desired versatility in changing hairstyles and self-expression

“Black women have long been the victims of dangerous products specifically marketed to them,” said Ben Crump.

“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.”

“We will likely discover that Ms. Mitchell’s tragic case is one of countless cases in which companies aggressively misled Black women to increase their products.”


US woman files lawsuit against L’Oreal, claiming chemical hair straightening products are linked to her cancer