A recent report from the National Safety Council identifies Hair and Nail Salons as extremely hazardous environments, specifically referring to air quality (as published in Safety and Health Magazine.)
- Research about cosmetologists and health issues has been limited.
- Formaldehyde – which is sometimes listed on salon product labels under alternative names – is a major concern.
- Experts and advocates say safer products, protective equipment, ventilation and training can help protect salon workers.
Hair and nail salons are full of many chemicals that can cause serious short and long term problems for both the staff and customers.hazardous chemicals used in applying and removing the polish see the Toxic Trio below.
Chemicals inside of glues, removers, polishes and other salon products can be hazardous individually, but when combined they cause even greater harm.
Below is a more complete matrix of the hazardous chemicals and risks include:
Of note is that the risks are not only from chemicals. Hair is another issue, as tiny hair clippings can float into the air. Each time nails are filed small dust particles from the nails are also emitted into the air. These invisible particulates are easily breathed by the staff and customers. Since they are small they can go deep into the lungs potentially causing sickness and side effects.
A cautionary example
The hairdresser, who has taken to wearing a mask in her salon, has issued a warning to others in the hair industry to protect themselves at work. She said: ‘I work for myself now so I can wear a mask. People get used to it once you explain the reason why. So now my customers come in and they are quite happy to accept that I wear a mask while cutting hair. I feel this should be highlighted – it’s a danger we are putting ourselves in. But it’s like the risks of smoking, everyone thinks it won’t happen to them.
Protection – What Are Your choices?
One solution – Air Masks (Personal Air Filters)
In addition to Barrett’s comments we recommend air masks with all, or at least most of the following features:
- High level of protection – look for filter that can exclude up to 99% of .3 micron particulates.
- Optional activated carbon designs that specifically absorb formaldehyde and other chemicals.
- Adjustable – you need a safe tight seal.
- Attractive styles – You are in the beauty business!
- Comfortable – review valves and materials to keep heat build low and improve breathing.
- Affordable – the best are those with removable filters as you do not throw the whole thing away.