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Hair and Nail Salons

What are they?

Hair and nail salons offer cosmetic treatments for men and women. They provide foot, hand, and nail care; nail manicures; haircuts and hair styling; and other services.

See also: Solvents Acetone

Why are they a concern?

Salon products may contain potentially harmful chemicals that can cause asthma among workers, as well as other health concerns. Many chemicals in nail products evaporate into the air, potentially affecting clients as well as workers. Nail polish removers are sometimes abused as recreational inhalants to get high.

Some hair dye products contain ingredients that may irritate or penetrate the skin. Some products must not be used to dye eyelashes or eyebrows because they may cause blindness.

Salon workers may be exposed to latex dust if they use latex gloves. This can cause allergies.

Hair sprays are flammable and contain a variety of chemicals.

Who is at risk?

  • Salon workers, owners, and clients are at risk.
  • Children are especially at risk if they are exposed to or accidentally drink nail polish removers and artificial nail removers.

What pollutants are of greatest concern?

Salon products can contain many harmful chemicals, including:

Reduce your risk

  • Do you work in a hair or nail salon?
  • Do you frequently visit a hair or nail salon?
  • Circulate fresh air throughout the salon.
  • Handle products safely, including closing containers and ultimate disposing of them.
  • Workers should wear proper gloves and masks.
  • Clean work stations between clients.
  • Use new or sterilized tools for each client.
National Library of Medicine Resources and Databases
  • Personal Care. Household Products Database

    Database that shares information on ingredients, manufacturers, and health effects of personal care and household products.

  • Hairdressers, Hair Stylists and Cosmetologists. Haz-Map

    Information about the environmental health risks associated with the occupations of hairdresser, hair stylist, and cosmetologist from an occupational health database designed for health and safety professionals and consumers seeking information about the adverse effects of workplace exposures to chemical and biological agents.

  • Cosmetics

    Curated links to current consumer health information on the effect of cosmetics on human health. These English and Spanish web resources include background information, related issues, specifics, health check tools, journal articles, relevant agencies and organizations, and targeted resources for teenagers and women.

Additional Resources
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