Three Georgia women file lawsuits against hair straightener companies

ATLANTA — Three Georgia women are taking several hair-straightening manufacturing companies to court.

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In the complaint, the women stated that the chemicals used in the products gave them cancer.

“Extremely painful,” said one of the plaintiffs, Toya Dickerson.

Dickerson told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington that she knew something was wrong. She went to a specialist.

“That’s when they found the cancer,” Dickerson explained.

In 2016, doctors diagnosed Dickerson with endometrial uterine cancer. She underwent a hysterectomy.

Years later, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a ban on chemical hair straighteners due to a reported link between chemical relaxers and certain cancers.


Dickerson, a long-time user of chemical straighteners filed a lawsuit.

She is one of three women in Georgia suing several hair straightener manufacturing companies.

“Something that was marketed to Black women, since I was a teenager, you wouldn’t think that would be the cause,” said Dickerson.

While studies show uterine cancer rates are rising among all women, the increase is highest among Black women and other women of color.

“There are carcinogens and endocrine disruptive chemicals that are found in the products,” Danielle Ward Mason of the Bullock Ward Mason law firm, said on Thursday.

“These companies have not warned anyone about this. It does not contain a label on the back of the box,” Ward Mason added.

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L’Oréal Groupe is one of the major companies named in the lawsuits.

L’Oréal Groupe posted a statement to its website:

“L’Oréal’s highest priority is the health and wellbeing of all our consumers. Our products are subject to a rigorous scientific evaluation of their safety by experts who also ensure that we strictly follow all regulations in every market in which we operate.

While we understand the desire of each plaintiff to find answers to and relief from their personal health concerns, we are confident in the safety of SoftSheen-Carson’s products and believe the allegations made in these lawsuits have neither legal nor scientific merit.

The novel study upon which all these lawsuits are based recognized the need for further research and it made no finding of a causal connection between the use of those products and any conditions alleged by the plaintiffs. Tellingly, while the study clearly states that ‘more research is warranted,’ one of the lead researchers of the study has also acknowledged that there could be other potential contributing factors to the health outcomes.”

Dickerson said she hopes the lawsuits send a message to the manufacturing companies.

“So, if you knew then that you were advertising these harmful chemicals, you should be ashamed,” Dickerson said.

Ward Mason told Washington that the case is moving forward in court.

Dickerson said she is now in remission and cancer-free.