CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Fifty-seven lawsuits, claiming L’Oreal hair straightening products cause cancer, will be consolidated into a single case in a Chicago federal court, a judicial panel ruled this week.
The lawsuits were filed in federal courts all across the country, according to Reuters.
The lawsuits allege that the company knew the chemicals used to permanently straighten curly hair were dangerous but sold them anyway.
A report published by the National Institutes of Health found that women who used hair straightening products multiple times a year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer.
In a statement, L’Oreal said it was “confident in the safety of our products and believe the recent lawsuits filed against us have no legal merit.”
Diandra Debrosse Zimmerman, a lawyer for DiCello Levitt who filed the first case, said she believed thousands of women could end up joining the lawsuit.
The hair straightening products are typically marketed to Black women, Reuters noted.
Debrosse Zimmerman filed a case on behalf of Jenny Mitchell, 32, from Missouri, claiming that her uterine cancer “was directly and proximately caused by her regular and prolonged exposure to phthalates and other endocrine disrupting chemicals found in Defendants’ hair care products.”
“As most young African-American girls, chemical relaxers, chemical straighteners were introduced to us at a young age,” Mitchell told CNN. “Society has made it a norm to look a certain way, in order to feel a certain way. And I am the first voice of many voices to come that will stand, stand up to these companies, and say, ‘No more.’”