Why are salons a concern?
Hair and nail salon products may contain potentially harmful chemicals that can cause occupational asthma, as well as other health concerns.
Nail care products can contain many chemicals that may be harmful to salon workers and shop owners, including benzene and formaldehyde, both of which are listed as human carcinogens in the Fourteenth Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program. Other harmful chemicals in nail care products include acetone, acetonitrile, dibutyl phthalate, ethyl acetate, fiberglass, titanium dioxide, toluene, and volatile organic compounds.
Because many chemicals in nail products evaporate into the air, salon customers may also be exposed to these chemicals at a salon. Hair and nail salons should be properly ventilated to circulate fresh air into the salon.
Children are especially at risk if they are exposed to (or accidentally drink) nail polish removers and artificial nail removers. Polish removers are sometimes used as recreational inhalants to get "high".
Some hair dye products contain ingredients that may irritate the skin. Some products must not be used for dyeing eyelashes or eyebrows because they may cause blindness. Other hair dye products contain ingredients that can penetrate the skin.
Salon workers are also exposed to latex dust if they use latex gloves.
This description is based on the information found in the Web links listed with this topic.
Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Piercing and Tattoos
Sun Exposure (indoor tanning)
Cosmetics (Food and Drug Administration)
Cosmetics. Product and Ingredients (Food and Drug Administration)
Cosmetology Right to Know Brochure (Rutgers School of Public Health) (PDF — 306.68 KB)
Hairdressers, Hair Stylists and Cosmetologists. Haz-Map (National Library of Medicine)
Personal Care. Household Products Database (National Library of Medicine)
Plastic in Cosmetics (United Nations Environment Programme) (PDF — 259.93 KB)
Protecting the Health of Nail Salon Workers (Environmental Protection Agency)
UV Tanning Equipment. RadTown (Environmental Protection Agency)
Chemicals in Salons
Are these chemicals in MY community?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Last Updated: November 28, 2016