Across the nation, and especially in larger cities, nail salons are a dime a dozen, which makes it convenient for those looking to get a manicure or pedicure. However, an issue that isn't heavily discussed is the possible health and respiratory hazards that occur in some of these establishments.
Nail salon workers are exposed to health hazards every day and while some are from chemical exposures, other risks come from infections because of contact with customers' skin, nails and blood, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported.
Nail technicians have to be cautious when working around hazardous chemicals or even manicure or pedicure dust. According to OSHA, there are more than 375,00 nail technicians working in the U.S., and each workplace needs a proper air purification system to properly ventilate hazardous dust or chemicals.
New York City lacking nail salon inspections
In New York City, the controls for the nail salon industry are very loose for the more than 2,000 licensed nail salons, NBC affiliate KNBC reported. However, Letitia James, a public advocate for New York City, explained there are only 27 inspectors in the entire state that check safety regulations in nail salons.
Of the 10,000 chemicals found in nail salon products, 89 percent of them have been independently studied and some are associated with cancer and respiratory health problems, the source reported.
The unsafe practices are considered a problem because they're growing at an alarming rate due to the continued use of toxic chemicals, Reuters reported. Many employees in nail salons are forced to work in an unsanitary condition, which also puts the health of the client at risk as well.
"New York City doesn't have any jurisdiction over nail salons," said James in her report on the safety problems in New York, Reuters reported. "We're asking for the same type of jurisdiction over inspection to increase the number of inspectors."
Some of the reports regarding health problems contracted at nail salons include hepatitis and bacterial infections, which can be transmitted during manicures, the source reported. Other hazards, such as ultraviolet lamps used to dry painted nails, formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate, are all possible chemicals a customer or worker can encounter.
Nail salons have to invest in proper air filtration systems to remove hazardous airborne particles.
By Leonard Roulier
Indoor air pollution and air quality news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.