Navan Ward in our Mass Torts Section says the hair relaxer litigation reminds him of how personal our work is because his family members could easily be victims of this defective product.
Many of us do not think about the ingredients we use in everyday cosmetics. Others feel safe because we know the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the industry based on the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.
Even so, unsafe products still end up in consumers’ hands. One reason this happens is that cosmetic marketers and manufacturers are responsible for their own product labeling and ingredient lists. Also, ingredients can be unlisted to protect “trade secrets.”
For years, mostly Black women used chemical hair relaxers to straighten their hair, a European beauty standard marketed to them by cosmetic manufacturers aware of the dangers their products posed. Recent studies show that women who use hair relaxers have a higher chance of developing uterine cancer, endometrial uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer.
For Navan Ward, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section and based out of our Atlanta office, the hair relaxer lawsuits are personal. His wife, mother, sister, aunts, cousins and friends have previously used hair relaxers throughout the years and could have easily become victims of these defective products. He says:
As I inform my family and friends of the issues with these products, I hear firsthand accounts of how they felt pressure to straighten their hair to fit in or conform to the European standard of beauty that put them at risk of a deadly disease. The pressure that my family and friends describe is similar to what many of the victims of these products describe.
As a member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee of the Hair Relaxer consolidated federal court lawsuits, I’m proud to work with attorneys around the country to hold these manufacturers responsible for the injuries that they have caused. However, admittedly this litigation hits close to home, knowing that either now or in the near future, my loved ones could also be someone I represent. This is a sobering reality of how dangerous these products are and why Beasley Allen continues its fight to ensure that companies do the right thing because no one is immune from being a victim of corporate wrongdoing.