Schlichter Bogard Partner Kristine Kraft Appointed Co-Chair of Bellwether Committee and Ja’Mecia Laws Appointed to Leadership Development Sub-Committee in Chemical Hair Straightener Multidistrict Litigation
Kristine Kraft, a partner in Schlichter Bogard & Denton’s Pharmaceutical and Consumer Protection practice groups, has been appointed to the Co-Chair of the Bellwether Committee in In Re: Hair Relaxer Marketing Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, Case No. 22 C 818, pending before Chief U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland. Ja’Mecia Laws has also been appointed to the Leadership Development Sub-Committee.
By way of background, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (“NIEHS”) released a study on October 17, 2022, which found that women who used chemical hair straightening products are at a higher risk for developing uterine cancer than those who have never used the products. The NIEHS study observed 33,497 U.S. women ages 35-74 over a period of nearly eleven years as part of its Sister Study, which was a long-term study designed to follow sisters of breast cancer patients. According to the study, the rates of uterine cancer among women who used hair straightening products at least four times a year were more than double those of women who never used hair straightening products. The study concluded that certain chemicals used in the hair straightening products, including parabens, phthalates, and formaldehyde likely contributed to an increased incident of uterine cancer rates.  These chemicals, known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (“EDCs”), alter hormonal actions and promote growth of cancer cells. 
We are currently reviewing potential claims on behalf of individuals who have used chemical hair straightening products and developed uterine, endometrial, and/or ovarian cancer. More information available here.