Beasley Allen lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of Lafayette Armstrong after his wife, Barbara Armstrong, died from uterine cancer linked to her use of L’Oréal, Softsheen-Carson and McBride Research Laboratories hair relaxers for years. Mrs. Armstrong also suffered from endometriosis linked to the use of the hair relaxers. The firm’s lawyers, Navan Ward, Aigner Kolom, Ken Wilson and Ryan Beattie, represent Mr. Armstrong.
“This lawsuit is about exposing the dangerous products the defendants peddled to unsuspecting consumers like Mrs. Armstrong,” said Beasley Allen attorney Aigner Kolom. “Hair relaxer manufacturers, including the defendants, withheld information from Mrs. Armstrong and others about the products’ risks, including an increased risk of cancer. All while benefitting from the hundreds of millions of dollars they made from the lives they put in danger.”
The plaintiff alleges that his wife’s cancer and endometriosis were caused by her prolonged exposure to the harmful effects of the hair relaxers manufactured by defendants McBride Research Laboratories, Inc., L’Oréal USA, Inc., USA L’Oréal Products, Inc., Softsheen-Carson Inc., and Softsheen-Carson (W.I.), Inc. The lawsuit explains that hair relaxers are used to straighten the natural curl pattern in the hair. Most hair relaxers contain toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, metals, phthalates, and parabens, which are associated with a higher risk of cancer, particularly hormone-sensitive ones.
The complaint says that Mrs. Armstrong used the hair relaxers manufactured by the defendants from the early 1960s to 2018. She passed away on Jan. 28, 2020, due to complications related to her uterine cancer and chemotherapy caused by using the defendants’ hair relaxer products.
The plaintiff cites a recent study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) that found that women who used chemical hair straightening products, also called hair relaxers, more than four times per year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer than those who did not.
Hair relaxers are used by the Black community more than any other race. Black people make up about 13% of the U.S. population. However, one estimate shows that African American consumers spend as much as 22% of the $42 billion-a-year personal care products market.
Unknowingly, African American consumers like Mrs. Armstrong are targeted by those in the industry, like the defendants whose marketing reinforces Eurocentric standards of beauty – straight hair. Additionally, the defendants and other makers of hair relaxers fail to adequately warn consumers of just how unreasonably dangerous these hair relaxers are, even when used for the purpose for which they were designed. Without information from the defendants, an ordinary consumer like Mrs. Armstrong would not know the dangers or risks that led to her death.
The case is Lafayette Armstrong v. McBride Research, et al., and was filed in the State Court of Dekalb County, State of Georgia, case number 23A00243. The firm will file many more lawsuits in the coming weeks.