A disturbing new report suggests that working in a beauty salon may dramatically increase your risk of suffering from a variety of health conditions, ranging from fertility disorders to cancer.
A report released by activist group Women’s Voices For The Earth, entitled ‘Beauty and its Beast: Unmasking the Impact of Toxic Chemicals on Salon Workers’ suggests chemical exposure from working with beauty and hair products can lead to immune and neurological conditions, and even cancer.
According to the report, 58 per cent of hairdressing students in Australia reported developing skin problems on their hands as a result of working with chemicals in hair products.
people working with these products were four times more likely to develop idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a fatal chronic lung disease.
As a result of this exposure, it also found that people working with these products were four times more likely to develop idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a fatal chronic lung disease.
Impaired lung function
Repeated exposure to toxins in nail products was also found to be a significant risk factor for health issues, with manicurists working with artificial nails shown to increase their risk of exacerbating asthma by three-fold.
beauty therapists who continue full-time work during their pregnancy increase their risk of miscarriage.
Lung function was also found to be worse in workers who’d spent the majority of their careers working with nails. However it was shown to improve in these individuals during time spent away from the salon. Good salon ventilation was also found to dramatically decrease chemical exposure to the lungs.
Miscarriage, cancer and neurological issues
The report also went further to suggest that beauty therapists who continue full-time work during their pregnancy increase their risk of miscarriage and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia as a result of airborne chemicals found in salons where nail products were used.
those that work regularly with nail polish are ten times more likely to develop lupus, an auto-immune disorder.
Perhaps most disturbingly, the report found that beauty therapists are three times more likely to develop breast cancer than people in any other occupation and, those that work regularly with nail polish are ten times more likely to develop lupus, an auto-immune disorder.
While the international report highlights the fact that most countries, including Australia, have only vague legislation around salon conditions such as adequate ventilation and chemical ingredients, salon workers and beauty therapists alike can dramatically reduce their risk of developing health issues by following a few preventative measures, including:
- Using nail polishes that are free from dibutyl phthalates, toluene, and formaldehyde
- Using nail polish removers that are free from butyl acetate, methyl acetate, or ethyl acetate
- Using nail polish thinners that are free from toluene or methyl ethyl ketone
- Wearing protective neoprene or nitrile gloves to protect the skin from absorbing toxins
- Avoiding reusing disposable gloves
- Using devices such as respirators with organic carbon chemical cartridges, or N95 respirator dust masks
- Closing containers of product when not in use
- Opening doors and windows wherever possible
- Installing a ventilation system with external exhaust, if you are a salon owner
- Installing nail tables with built in exhaust fans, if you are a salon owner
To read the full report with all recommendations, head to womensvoices.org
Have your say: Do you think there should be more legislation around salon conditions?