Lawsuits Filed After Hair Straightener Linked To Cancer
A recent lawsuit filed against beauty products manufacturers alleges that popular brands of hair straighteners contain active carcinogens that can lead to uterine cancer. Since the product is primarily marketed to Black women, the majority of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit are Black women.
According to the lawsuit, the hair straightener contains a chemical known as an EDC or an endocrine-disrupting chemical. Until recently, very little, if any testing has been done on humans because EDCs are known to cause cancer in animals. Animal testing has shown that even small quantities of EDCs can cause major hormonal problems that lead to uterine cancer, fibroid masses, or endometriosis.
Studies conducted indicate that the use of hair relaxers can increase your risk of uterine cancer by up to 150%. In light of this recent study, numerous lawsuits have been filed by women who claim to have suffered severe complications related to EDCs.
Who is eligible to file a lawsuit?
Anyone who has been diagnosed with uterine problems should seek out the help of an attorney. Claims are being considered on the basis of uterine abnormalities and extended use of hair straightening products. Anyone who can prove both of those elements should seek out an attorney to join the lawsuit.
Did the company know?
Studies related to EDCs and their effects on animals have been around long enough to warrant avoiding their use. However, we don’t have much information on humans, and that’s where the company can claim that they “didn’t know” that their product was harming the public.
In a case like this, it really doesn’t matter if the company knew or didn’t know because they produced a defective product that caused injury to members of the public. So, on that basis, they are liable. However, the law allows the civil courts to punish defendants who knowingly place defective products into the stream of commerce after becoming aware that their product is hazardous. In these cases, the court will consider the question of punitive damages.
If the plaintiffs can establish that the company knew that their products were likely causing uterine cancer, then the damages award will be significantly higher than it otherwise would be. In fact, the damages award is often tripled in cases where punitive damages are assessed.
Does incomplete science give the company wiggle room?
It’s fair to ask, if scientists didn’t know that EDCs harmed humans, then why is the company responsible? Well, scientists had a sound basis for assuming that EDCs would cause the same types of problems they cause in our mammalian brothers. In other words, they didn’t “know” to a scientific certainty, but erring on the side of caution could have prevented injury and death.
Ultimately, this argument can defeat a claim for punitive damages, but not a claim for compensatory damages. Manufacturers are strictly liable for their products, unless you drank a bottle of hair straightener, the company must pay.
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Green & Schafle represent the interests of consumers injured by dangerous products. Call our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.