Nail salons are one of the most frequented beauty spots for most individuals, as these businesses offer a variety of services including manicures, pedicures, waxing, and other beauty services within this indoor space. When performing of all these various services inside this indoor commercial space, there will unfortunately be the use of many chemical products such as nail polish, nail polish remover, acrylic nails, glue, and other products used that will contain a variety of chemicals within its construction. As you can expect, nail salons are continuously using these products throughout the day and sometimes in large quantities, and this can lead to some major air quality problems within this businesses indoor space – and more concerning can become a public health risk to both the nail salon workers and their Customers.

If you have ever went to a nail salon, then you have probably experienced the strong chemical smell that will hit your nose the moment you walk into this business’s doors. Although this chemical smell may seem normal for the nail salon, the reality is that this strong chemical fume odor is anything but normal and will ultimately provide many risks to the indoor air quality and human health, especially in large levels of exposure. When it comes to mitigating and removing these nail salon fumes from the business’s indoor space, there can be several solutions that may need to be integrated to provide a safe environment for both employees and patrons to inhabit – such as air quality devices and proper ventilation within the building.

In this article we are going to learn more about the potential dangers within a nail salon like the chemical fumes produced from certain products used in this space, as well as discuss the best solutions to integrate into this commercial space to mitigate and filter the air of the environment to provide a safer and cleaner indoor space.

Health and Safety in a Salon

Health and Safety in a SalonIt may come as a surprise to learn that when you are inside of a nail salon you could potentially be exposing yourself to an array of chemicals that can be fairly hazardous to your health, When nail salons have no preventative or safety standards set in place to control and mitigate the indoor air of the amalgam of chemicals that can be released into the air of this environment, it could lead to the compromising of both health and safety in the nail salon. The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), found that those individuals working in nail salons are exposed to many different chemicals each day. The accumulation of exposure to these chemicals throughout the say can become problematic, especially when the nail salon has limited ventilation and air flow to help flush out these accumulated nail salon chemicals. Therefore, those nail salon workers will have a longer exposure time to these chemicals, and this can lead to workers becoming sick with various health effects overtime.

It has become increasingly important for nail salons to abide by and follow the regulations set in place by OSHA for the health and safety of all those individuals exposed to the nail salons indoor space, especially with the growing concern of indoor air quality’s linked to health issues. According to the J Immigr Minor Health Journal on Indoor Air Quality Survey of Nail Salons in Boston, they discovered that employees in nail salons are exposed to a range of volatile organic chemicals that are produced from the products used in the salon, such as solvents, glues, and polishes. These Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) will significantly taint the indoor air quality and conversely be the result of health effects sustained by those workers with frequent exposure levels to these pollutants in the air.

Nail Salon Chemicals

Did you know that there are approximately 100 identified chemicals that were potentially found in nail salon products? According to New York State Department of Health found that a single nail polish used in a nail salon can contain dozens of chemical ingredients such as acetates, phthalates, and methacrylate’s. This may lead you to question is nail polish bad for you? In addition to these chemicals listed in nail salon products, there are other dangerous chemicals that can also be present in these products such as the following;

  1. Nail Salon ChemicalsAcetone: A chemical found commonly in nail polish remover; a highly used nail salon product used on nearly ever Customer. This chemical has been found to cause headaches, dizziness, and eye, skin and throat irritation.
  2. Acetonitrile: A nail salon chemical found in fingernail glue remover, this has been found to attribute to irritated nose and throat, nausea, etc.
  3. Butyl Acetate: A chemical used in nail polish and nail polish remover that causes headaches and eye, nose, skin and mouth irritation.
  4. Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP): Present in nail polish that will cause nausea and skin, nose and eye irritation.
  5. Ethyl Acetate: A popular chemical used in many nail salon products such as nail polish, nail polish remover, and fingernail glue. This chemical can cause irritated eyes, stomach, skin, nose and throat irritation.
  6. Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA): Found in artificial nail liquid, this chemical can provoke asthma, irritation to the eyes, nose, and mouth, and cause difficulty concentrating.
  7. Formaldehyde: A very well-known chemical VOC, formaldehyde is present in nail polish and nail hardener used in a nail salon. This chemical can cause difficulty breathing, asthmatic attacks, allergic reactions, etc.
  8. Toluene: Toluene is a chemical found in nail polish and fingernail glue that will cause dry skin, headaches, dizziness, and eye irritation.

Dangers of Acrylic Nails

Dangers of Acrylic NailsOne of the most popular nail trends going on today in nail salons is the application of acrylic nails. Acrylic nails are a mix of powder and liquid monomer that is combined into a blob of dough that is shaped onto your nail with a brush and air-dried. When it comes to the application of this style of nails on an individual, it can lead to significant health effects to not only a person’s skin but will also lead to respiratory problems due to the chemical fumes produced from this nail salon product.

According to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), acrylic nails contain ethyl methacrylate (EMA) that can cause fumes and skin irritation such as skin sensitization, dermatitis, and other health effects. When these various chemicals used in acrylic nails gets released into the indoor air space of a nail salon it will slowly off gas into the air and cause potentially dangerous effects to those exposed to them in the environment, such as workers and Customers. Therefore, this demonstrates the importance of nail salons having proper ventilation and air quality mitigation solutions within the space while applying not only acrylic nails but other nail salon products.

Acrylic Nail Chemicals

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) state that artificial nails (aka acrylic nails) are composed primarily of acrylic polymers that are made by reacting together acrylic monomers, such as ethyl methacrylate monomer, with acrylic polymers. This reaction will produce these chemicals into the air of the salon, which will lead to exposure and potential inhalation/ingestion of the chemical compounds into the body through the air you breathe, through the skin, or through the digestive system. The chemical ingredients present in acrylic nails and other nail salon products will be used as a solid or liquid in the nail product, and as it is applied onto a person’s nails it will turn from a solid/liquid into a gas and off-gas into the air of the nail salon slowly.

Inhaling Acrylic Dust Fumes – Health Risks

In addition to the potential health risks of nail salon products chemicals such as acrylic nail, dust and other particulates produced from this type of artificial nails can also be a major health problem for those individuals exposed to these pollutants in the indoor air space of a nail salon. When you walk into a nail salon, you may notice that most of the nail techs have dust masks applied onto their face – this is usually due to the fact that they are trying to protect themselves from dust that is produced from acrylic nails.

Inhaling Acrylic Dust Fumes – Health RisksInhaling dust is never good for a person’s health, but especially in large amounts over a prolonged period of time. Dust is produced from acrylic nails when the nail tech is filing them down and this can produce heavy amounts of dust surrounding the worker and the Customer, which can be potentially problematic for their health. The various health effects that a person may experience from dust produced from acrylic nails can include wheezing, chest tightness, and even headaches from the fumes produced from these acrylic nails. This is one of the main reasons why you will see that those workers in a nail salon are wearing dust masks to protect themselves from these intense exposure levels to acrylic dust.

Importance of Nail Salon Air Purifiers & Ventilation

The single best way to remove harmful chemicals and VOC’s from salons is through the use of a high-quality air purifier system. In cases like nail salons where the concentration of these substances is exceptionally high, a standard filter in an HVAC system may not get the job done, as well as just having air flow within the building from open windows or doors. Many filters merely trap and then recycle harmful chemicals and particulates into the air. Most don’t do anything to trap and neutralize the chemicals and particles once the filter catches them. However, there are air quality solutions that are available that will allow for the nail salon chemicals and particulate matter to become trapped and removed completely from the environment, through proprietary neutralization technologies, like the EnviroKlenz Air Purifier.

Standard Air System Front 2The EnviroKlenz Air Purifier is a revolutionary air purifier that works through the use of our patented EnviroKlenz technology that captures, contains, and neutralizing a broad spectrum of noxious and toxic chemicals and odors, including common VOCs present in nail salon products used today such as formaldehyde, toluene, etc. Unlike most air purifier technologies that will capture and retain the chemicals and odors, EnviroKlenz will actually work to break down the chemical and completely neutralize it from the environment. In addition, the EnviroKlenz Air Purifier also contains a second-stage filtration process that uses a hospital-grade HEPA filter for fine particulate removal larger than 0.3 microns in size at a 99.99 percent efficiency. This added filtration stage will help to capture and remove dust particles as well as other particulate matter that can accumulate within the space of a nail salon. Therefore, this air purifier will provide the nail salon commercial space dual protection against both VOCs, odors, and particulate removal, while also helping to increase airflow in the space which will conversely help with ventilation requirements in the industries indoor space.

Article Sources:

  1. United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Health Hazards in Nail Salons (link)
  2. J Immigr Minor Health: Indoor Air Quality Survey of Nail Salons in Boston (link)
  3. Health and Safety Authority (HSA): Taking Care of Your Chemical Health and Safety in Nail Bars and Salons (link)
  4. New York State Department of Health: Review of Chemicals Used in Nail Salons (link)
  5. Food & Drug Administration (FDA): Nail Care Products (link)

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