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FDA Misses Deadline To Ban Hair Relaxing Chemical

Food and Drug Administration Failed to Meet Self-Imposed Deadline To Ban Cancer-Causing Chemicals From Hair Relaxers

FDA Misses Deadline To Ban Hair Relaxing Chemical

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK (June 1, 2024) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has missed its own deadline to propose a ban on the use of formaldehyde in hair products.

The FDA initially proposed a ban on the use of the chemical in October 2023, with implementation of the ban set to take place in April 2024. It remains unclear why the ban has not yet been put in place.

An official from the FDA has said that they are still developing the proposed rule. Hair relaxers that use formaldehyde are predominately used by black women, thereby putting this group particularly at risk.

A number of scientific studies have revealed a link between the chemicals used in hair relaxers and hormone-related cancers. The National Institutes of Health has revealed that the use of chemical straighteners is associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer.

Liability For Cancers Caused By Hair Relaxers

Formaldehyde is a dangerous chemical used in a variety of different hair products. According to the National Cancer Institute, “formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling, flammable chemical that is produced industrially […] it is commonly used as a fungicide, germicide, and disinfectant, and as a preservative in mortuaries and medical laboratories.” Formaldehyde can cause a number of short-term irritations.

  • Redness and a burning sensation in the eyes
  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Respiratory issues such as coughing and wheezing are also common
  • Contact with the skin can cause redness, itching, and rash
  • Headaches are also common due to the strong odor

Companies that manufacture hair products have a legal obligation to make those products reasonably safe. Hair product companies are liable for the design, manufacturing, and marketing effects associated with their products. If a company has actual or constructive notice that one of their products has a cancer-causing chemical and fails to act, this could form the basis of a product liability claim. There are several illnesses associated with long-term exposure to formaldehyde.

  • Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Neurotoxicity

Part of the problem with hair relaxers and other hair products is that the fumes they leave behind linger and are inhaled by the user. To make things even worse, these products are often used in bathrooms or other confined spaces. Any person who uses hair relaxers or other hair products over long periods of time may be much more susceptible to various cancers and other illnesses.

Getting Legal Help After Using Hair Relaxers

We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our best wishes to all of the people who have become ill after using hair relaxers. The FDA should do the right thing and totally ban the use of formaldehyde in hair products. There needs to be some accountability for the sake of all of the victims.

Have you or someone that you care about been diagnosed with cancer after long-term use of hair relaxers or other hair products? You may have legal recourse. Our team of personal injury attorneys is here to help you. We care deeply that victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (516) 908-9792.


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Jeff Korek

Jeff S. Korek

Senior Trial Partner​

Jeff S. Korek joined Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. in 1992 as the Senior Trial partner. Known for his meticulous preparation and dedication to his clients, Jeff has obtained some of the state’s highest verdicts and settlements.