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Hairdressers and nail salon workers handle potent chemicals

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2022 | Workplace Risks

Your hairdresser and nail salon professional are probably routinely exposed to dangerous chemicals while working on clients. What, exactly, are the hazards they face? Could they be jeopardizing their well-being?

The hazards these workers contend with are very significant. Toxic ingredients in hair and nail preparations can be absorbed when they contact the skin or when fumes from them are breathed in. As one website put it, “Research shows that this exposure can harm a salon worker’s health.”

Major long-term health issues

Serious health effects have been linked by researchers to chemicals that cosmetology professionals frequently use. Hairdressers seem to be vulnerable to numerous cancers such as lung cancer, bladder cancer and breast cancer. “Decreased lung function” can be experienced by nail salon employees and hairdressers. An elevated chance of getting asthma affects hairdressers and nail salon personnel, too. 

Which chemicals are among the culprits?

We seldom stop and consider the ingredients in the products that make us look more stylish. Some of them are potent, highly toxic substances. Formaldehyde, for example, is among the chemicals that pack a cancer threat. It “can be released from hair straighteners and flat iron sprays when used with high heat.”

Some products can hurt the skin. They can lead to dermatitis, irritation and allergies. Some typical ones in this category are:

  • Acrylic nail products
  • Bleaches and dyes for the hair
  • Permanent wave solutions

These may be present in high concentrations in the air at salons, especially those with insufficient or faulty air circulation:

  • Methyl methacrylate
  • Ammonia
  • Acetone
  • Toluene

Has your salon job made you sick?

You could be suffering from an illness induced by the chemicals you work in a hair or nail salon. If that is your situation, you might get approved for workers’ compensation. In California, this encompasses coverage for career retraining if you cannot resume your previous occupation.