Terrell is one of four Black women, three of whom spoke to NBC News exclusively, who have filed federal lawsuits against L’Oréal and other companies, alleging that chemicals in the companies’ hair products caused them to develop uterine cancer or other severe health effects. The lawsuits follow the release last month of a study by the National Institutes of Health that found that women who reported frequent use of hair straightening products — defined as more than four times in the previous year — were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer compared to those who did not use the products.
Alexandra White, head of the environment and cancer epidemiology group of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the lead author on the study, cautioned that the study did not prove that hair straightening products caused uterine cancer.
“This study is the first to show a possible link between frequent use of hair straightening products and uterine cancer,” she said.
But the women and their lawyers believe otherwise. Diandra Debrosse Zimmermann, who is among the attorneys representing the women, said that “the science is out there that supports our position.”
She said the complaints cite a number of studies that she believes will prove chemical hair straighteners “are substantial contributing causes and ultimately cause uterine cancer and a number of other conditions.”