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Phthalates in chemical hair relaxers

Although chemical hair straightening products are enriched with natural ingredients and marketed as safe for regular use, they also contain a mix of strong chemicals, including phthalates. Phthalate esters known as phthalates are a group of chemicals widely used in the plastic industries to produce polyvinyl chloride PVC. Some phthalates are also used to help dissolve other materials.

The following chemicals are often called plasticizers and can be found in hundreds of products, from medical equipment, childcare, and household products to cosmetics:

  • diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
  • dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • diethyl phthalate (DEP)
  • di-isononyl phthalate (DiNP)
  • di-iso-decyl phthalate (DiDP)

Exposure to phthalates and their impact on human health

Health concerns regarding the impacts of phthalates on human health have been raised in the past decades. Studies identify these substances as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that interfere with the endocrine system's normal functioning. 

People can be exposed to phthalates through: 

  • ingestion - eating and drinking foods that have been in contact with plastic containers
  • inhalation - from breathing in phthalate particles
  • dermal contact - by using personal care and beauty products

Despite the short half-lives in tissues, long-term exposure to phthalates will negatively impact the normal functioning of multiple organs. While people are enjoying the benefits of plastics worldwide, their health might be adversely affected by phthalates, as these endocrine-disrupting chemicals are detrimental to the:

  • reproductive system
  • endocrine system
  • neurological system
  • developmental system

Exposure to endocrine-disruptive phthalates in hair relaxers

A CDC study indicates that phthalate exposure is widespread in the U.S. population. Scientists measured phthalate metabolites in the urine of over 2,600 people and found measurable phthalate levels.

Women have higher metabolites measured in urine for those phthalates that lurk in personal care products and cosmetics, including chemical hair straightening products.

The cosmetic industry widely uses Diethyl phthalate (DEP), that is also known as Ethyl phthalate or Di-n-ethyl phthalate and dermal absorption of this hazardous chemical occurs from the daily use of cosmetic and hair care products, including the use of chemical hair relaxers. Statistics show that Black women have higher levels of exposure to several phthalates due to their frequent and long-term use of chemical hair relaxers.

Endocrine-disrupting phthalates interfere with the functioning of the endocrine system and can lead to the development of hormone-sensitive diseases such as:

Currently, many phthalates are banned and restricted in the USA, Australia and multiple countries in Europe and Asia. Scientists agree that information related to exposure to phthalates are limited and further research is required to assess the effects of exposure to these chemicals.

Atraxia Law's team of experts can help you file a toxic hair relaxer claim

Regardless of what chemical hair relaxers you use, if you were diagnosed with ovarian or uterine cancer, there might be a correlation. Therefore, please feel free to contact Atraxia Law for a quick free case evaluation over the phone.

With over 35 years of experience assisting victims of toxic exposure, our team of experts is ready to determine whether you are eligible to file a toxic hair relaxer claim against the liable manufacturers. You might be entitled to compensation if you regularly use hair relaxers that contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates. If we deem you eligible, we will promptly put you in contact with an experienced attorney specializing in toxic exposure cases.

Free case evaluation

10 Minutes Over the Phone

*No fees unless compensation is obtained