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Friday, May 20, 2011

Nail Salon Workers at Risk for Occupational Exposures

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Nail salon workers are at risk for exposures to hazardous chemicals at work reports a recently published study. The report in the American Journal of Public Health concludes that workers at nail salons may be at higher risk of exposure to chemical toxins that may be harmful to their health. 


Researchers set out to measure personal and area concentrations of solvents among Vietnamese women working in various California nail salons through a community-based participatory research study. Researchers collected data from 80 Vietnamese female nail salon workers from 20 different nail salons. They measured work-shift concentrations of toluene, ethyl acetate and isopropyl acetate and found that measured levels of these solvents were higher than recommended guidelines to prevent frequently reported health symptoms frequently reported. One-third of workers reported that they experienced certain health symptoms such as irritations, headaches, nausea and breathing problems after entering the workforce. Irritations of the nose, throat, lungs, skin and eyes were the most common symptoms, reported by 26.5 percent of workers. 


“Our findings underscored the need for more attention to preventive public health strategies for his workforce. Recommendations to promote worker health and safety include policy changes to update occupational exposure limits that take into account various chronic health conditions, better regulatory oversight of chemicals in cosmetic products, and more research focused on the health of understudied and vulnerable worker populations,” said the study’s authors.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and several other lobbying groups are supporting the passage of The Safe Cosmetics Act. The pending legislation calls full labeling of salon and cosmetic products and a phase out of those hazardous products that contain products that cause cancer or birth defects. It would allow the US Food and Drug Administration regulatory powers over the manufacture of cosmetics. The proposed legislation would require all ingredients to be listed on the product labels.

Concern has not only been expressed recently by nail salon workers, but various government agencies have issued health alerts concerning the presence of formaldehyde in hair straightening products. The State of New York was the latest to issue a health warning for those who use or are exposed to hair straightening products. 

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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