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Sodium hydroxide in chemical hair relaxers

Sodium hydroxide, known as caustic soda or lye, is a white solid, highly corrosive, water-soluble chemical that decomposes lipids and proteins at ambient temperatures. It is used to increase a mixture's alkalinity or neutralize acids.

Sodium hydroxide is used in several industries in the making of products like:

  • wood pulp and paper
  • household products
  • disinfectants
  • pharmaceutical products
  • cosmetic products
  • artificial textile fibers
  • food preservatives
  • epoxy resins
  • paints
  • glass and ceramics

Sodium hydroxide is harmful to human health

Sodium hydroxide is a corrosive chemical that affects all tissues, and it's highly toxic when ingested because it causes severe tissue necrosis of the esophagus, often resulting in death. Concentrated vapors of NaOH can lead to severe damage to the mucous membranes, the respiratory system, and the eyes.

It is important to get immediate medical attention if you accidentally ingest the chemical or if you get sodium hydroxide in your eyes. Accidental ingestion of sodium hydroxide can cause:

  • swelling in the throat
  • corrosive injury of the esophagus
  • inflammation of the lungs
  • severe abdominal pain
  • corrosive injury of the mouth
  • burns of the tongue and lips

Sodium hydroxide in hair relaxers and other cosmetic products

Sodium hydroxide is widely used in the cosmetics industry in a variety of self-care products and although in most products it's used in low amounts, it can still cause allergic reactions, skin irritation, and inflammation. Some of the products that may contain sodium hydroxide:

  • lotions
  • hair conditioners
  • liquid and solid soaps
  • depilatory creams
  • makeup
  • nail polish
  • nail polish remover
  • skincare products
  • cleansers
  • leave on exfoliants

This strong chemical is used in hair care products such as dyes, bleaches, and chemical hair relaxers to adjust the pH. In hair straighteners, sodium hydroxide is used in more significant amounts than in skin care products to break down the hair's protein structure, changing its texture and straightening it. The level of NaOH used in hair relaxers determines the product’s strength; super-strength relaxers contain a higher concentration of lye than regular ones. 

Our team can help you file a toxic hair relaxer claim

Regardless of what chemical hair relaxer products you used over the years, there might be a correlation if you struggle with hormone-sensitive cancer, such as:

Therefore, we strongly advise you to get in touch with Atraxia Law's team of experts for a free 10-minute case evaluation over the phone.

We have the experience and the knowledge to determine whether you are eligible to file a toxic hair relaxer claim against the manufacturers. If you meet the eligibility requirements, we will help you get in contact with a reliable toxic exposure attorney.

Free case evaluation

10 Minutes Over the Phone

*No fees unless compensation is obtained