The lawsuits, filed by individuals across the country, claim that the use of hair relaxers containing sodium hydroxide and guanidine hydroxide led to serious health problems, including hair loss, scalp burns, and cancer. The consolidation in Chicago will allow the plaintiffs to streamline their cases and avoid duplicative discovery.
“L’Oreal is committed to upholding the highest standards of safety for all the products it makes,” the statement said. “All the products marketed by the L’Oreal Group are in full compliance with FDA regulations, as well as the European Union Cosmetic Directive, and the requirements for safety in the more than 130 countries where its products are sold.”
Chevallier’s lawsuit claims that L’Oreal sold Maybelline products in South America containing dibutyl phthalate, “a material banned in those countries for its carcinogenicity and risks to reproduction.”
L’Oréal, one of the largest cosmetics companies in the world, faces the majority of the lawsuits. Other companies named in the lawsuits include Soft Sheen-Carson and Strength of Nature. The plaintiffs are seeking damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses. They argue that the companies failed to properly warn customers of the health risks associated with the use of their products.
This is not the first time that hair relaxer products have faced legal scrutiny. In the past, the industry has faced similar lawsuits and settlements over the safety of these products. L’Oréal has stated that it will defend itself against these lawsuits and maintains that its products are safe for use. The company has emphasized that it complies with all regulations and standards set by the FDA and other regulatory bodies. The consolidation of the lawsuits in Chicago is expected to begin later this year. Legal experts anticipate that this will be a long and complex case, given the number of plaintiffs involved.
“Because Black women use hair straightening or relaxer products more frequently and tend to initiate use at earlier ages than other races and ethnicities, these findings may be even more relevant for them,” said Che-Jung Chang, Ph.D., an author on the new study and a research fellow in the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch.
As many as 57 lawsuits against L’Oreal USA Inc and other companies have been filed in federal courts across Chicago, claiming such products cause cancer and other health problems. The lawsuits claim such products use chemicals to permanently straighten textured hair and allege the companies knew about such dangerous chemicals but marketed and sold their products anyway. The actions will be centralised into multidistrict litigation before US District Judge Mary Rowland, which will streamline discovery efforts and other pretrial issues for the cases, according to the order. The cases name the US subsidiary of L’Oreal SA and subsidiaries of India-based companies Godrej SON Holdings Inc and Dabur International Ltd. Representatives for the companies, which opposed centralisation of the cases. Meanwhile, Reuters quoted L’Oreal as saying that the company was confident in the safety of its products and believed the recent lawsuits filed have no legal merit.