Indoor Air Quality has always been a concern in spas and salons. For hair salons, cancer-causing formaldehyde was enemy number one due to the toxic fumes emitted from perms, dyes, and hair straightening treatments. For nail salons, it was the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) present in lacquers, adhesives, and polish removers that presented the most serious occupational health risk.
As part of the US Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has long been the protector of the American worker. Volumes of standards and recommendations have been published benefiting laborers across all industries, including those employed at spas and salons. From ventilation recommendations for nail care personnel (1) to tips on avoiding chemical exposure for salon staff (2), OSHA has taken the lead in protecting employee health.
As COVID-19 taught us, spas and salons, like any place where people from different households gather, are potential breeding grounds for viruses. These types of businesses are often smaller, tighter spaces that create an environment ripe for germ-sharing. Every spa table, sink, chair, and surface are possible hot spots for transmission. If even one hairbrush or cabinet knob has a communicable microbe, a virus can infect nearly everyone in that shop or salon in a matter of hours. That’s what makes cleaning and disinfecting so crucial.
Even before COVID-19 hit the scene, the CDC made recommendations for controlling unhealthy occupational exposures in the form of their Hierarchy of Controls model. (3) This model offers five ways to reduce transmission among workers by adopting into practice the various control methods.
While wearing masks, washing hands, and wiping down surfaces make workplaces safer, the most effective control measure is elimination. It is often the most difficult “control” to implement due to cost and any potentially complicated mechanical structures that exist in a building. Among the list of control measures, the CDC suggests these engineering initiatives as additional preventive measures: (4)
- Use ventilated tables or portable ventilation units, if available. Move the ventilation units to make sure they do not blow air from one person to another.
- If possible, salon owners and managers should work with facilities (building) management to adjust the ventilation so that the maximum amount of fresh air is sent into to client spaces, while maintaining the humidity at 40-60%. If possible, increase filter efficiency of HVAC units to highest level possible.
- Consider using portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration units to remove contaminants and clean the air.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) underscores the CDC recommendations by advocating for the use of portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems to reduce transmission threat in higher-risk areas (5) (such as waiting areas and spaces where multiple stylists and/or customers are located).
What makes using these air cleaners with HEPA filtration a powerful tool against viral transmission is that these products are designed to draw in polluted air and filter out the impurities. Quality air cleaning and filtration units are proven to reduce airborne contaminants. Portable air cleaners (also known as air purifiers) may be particularly helpful.
Salon Pure Air is Here to Help
Our Salon Pure Air line of Source Capture Fume Extractor products removes fumes and odors from the source, and with the help of our AMB1 Portable Air Purifier also removes up to 99.99% of fine particulates floating in the air – keeping both workers and customers breathing clean air and feeling secure. Contact Air Impurities Removal Systems Inc. to speak to one of our clean air specialists.