Hair relaxer claims against L’Oreal, Revlon can proceed

A federal judge Monday allowed the majority of claims to move forward in sprawling litigation that claims chemical hair relaxer products made by L’Oreal USA, Revlon and others cause cancer and other injuries.

Illinois-based U.S. District Judge Mary Rowland denied most of the companies’ arguments in their motion to dismiss the complaint in the multidistrict litigation over the products. The litigation includes more than 8,000 lawsuits.

The judge said the plaintiffs had put forward sufficient facts to support their allegations accusing the companies of negligence, defective design of the products and failure to warn customers of the risks.

Of the 15 counts in the complaint, Rowland dismissed three entirely and a portion of a fourth, finding the plaintiffs had not done enough to bolster their claims that the companies committed fraud.

The products, which include chemicals to permanently straighten textured hair, are typically marketed to women of color. The first lawsuits hit court dockets after the October 2022 publication of a National Institutes of Health study that found women who used the products multiple times a year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer.

Representatives for L’Oreal and Revlon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Several smaller cosmetics companies are named in the lawsuits, including some based in India.

This article was first published in Business Insurance.

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