There are over 300,000 nail technicians that work in America today, and just over 56,00 nail salons in this Country as of 2018. These statistics demonstrate the significant impact that the fumes produced from nail salons can cause to a vast number of individuals – both nail salon workers and Customers. What can be done in these commercial businesses to protect the indoor air quality from hazardous nail salon fumes and are there industrial-grade solutions to properly fight off chemical pollutants from the air of these environments?
In this article we are going to dive deeper into the nail salon industry and learn about the different safety and health concerns that can be present in these commercial environments to help protect nail salon workers and the Customers that frequent this growing industry.
Hazards in a Salon
A nail salon may seem like a pretty minimal hazard environment to most individuals, but if you have ever or if you work in a nail salon you may have a first-hand account of really how dangerous it can be to your health. There are a number of products that are used in a nail salon that will lead to pollution and fumes within the air space, including nail polish, nail polish remover, nail filers, UV lights, etc. All of these nail care products will ultimately contribute to pollution in the indoor air of the confined nail salon and lead to an over-accumulation of pollutant hazards in the air. Many salon technicians will try to shield themselves from these chemical fumes and pollutants by wearing face masks to guard against inhalation of these pollutants, however, the face masks that they wear provide very little protection in actuality.
Chemical hazards are the most prevalent types of hazards in a nail salon space, and this type of hazard(s) is something that must be dealt with immediately to stay in compliance with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) worker regulations. Many nail salons will have to implement ventilation systems and air quality mitigation tools within their businesses to help meet the regulations for their workers safety and health.
Nail Salon Chemicals
The chemicals that are found in nail salons will affect the overall safety and health of the commercial environment and will even contribute to lasting effects to those individual’s health that are heavily exposed to them in the air space. Many of the chemicals that nail salons expose people to are generally all VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can be volatile in nature and lead to an impact to the air quality and public health after its emission into the indoor air space of this industry’s commercial environment.
Below we are going to discuss the major chemicals that can be found in a nail salon and learn more about how these chemicals play a role in the indoor environment of a salon, as well as how they impact the health of Customers and workers in this space.
- Acetone: A chemical that is used in nail polish remover, acetone is a chemical that is safe in low amounts, however, when large amounts of exposure to this chemical occurs in the environment it could lead to health problems. The chemical works to break down or dissolve substances like paints and varnishes, thus why it is used in nail polish remover to remove the nail polish coating on the nails. Acetone can lead to headaches, dizziness, and irritation to the eyes, skin, and throat.
- Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a well-known VOC that can be found in nail polish and nail hardeners that are used in a salon. This chemical can cause difficulty breathing, coughing, asthma-like symptoms, wheezing, allergic reactions, irritation to the eyes, skin, and throat.
- Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA): Ethyl Methacrylate is a chemical that is used as a type of acrylic monomer that is used for fake nails. This chemical will lead to asthma, irritation the eyes, skin, nose, and mouth, and difficulty concentrating.
- Methacrylic Acid: A chemical that is used in nail primers that help to expand the longevity of the polish on the fingernails. Methacrylic Acid will lead to skin burns and irritated eyes, nose, skin, mouth and throat. When this chemical is present in the indoor environment of a salon in high concentrations it can even lead to difficulty breathing in some individuals.
- Toluene: A chemical that is used in nail polish and in fingernail glue, this VOC will produce significant health reactions upon exposure in an indoor environment. These health effects from toluene can include dry or cracked skin, headaches, dizziness, irritated eyes, nose, and throat, damage to the liver and kidneys, etc.
- Quaternary ammonium compounds: A popular chemical that is used in the nail salon industry to disinfect surface, products, etc. This chemical, however, can lead to irritated skin and nose, and even can exacerbate asthma symptoms.
What is the Smell in Nail Salons
Immediately when you walk through the doors of a nail salon your nose is instantly assaulted by a strong smell that will stay with you even after you leave the nail salon. The smell is usually a mixture between nail polish, nail polish remover, and cleaning products that are used to try to disinfect the products and areas that are heavily used by Customers. When a nail salon has limited ventilation and improper fume extractors/air quality solutions it will lead these smells to build up and worsen in the environment, which will lead to the strong smell that most Customers experience when they walk into the nail salon.
When the smells and chemical fumes become too much inside of a nail salon with improper ventilation and air quality solutions in place, they will usually open up windows and doors to help provide air flow through the building to minimize the smell. However, this is not a solution but a quick fix for the time being to remove the strong smell within the nail salon.
Health and Safety in a Salon
Health and safety are always at the forefront of any businesses mind, especially when it comes to their staff and Customers. These standards have been set by OSHA and are applied in every workplace to protect employers, staff, customers, and visitors and guests that may come into the indoor space of this business. When it comes to maintaining the recommended health and safety inside of a commercial business there are three factors that are important to consider keeping up these highly necessary regulations; environmental, occupational, and human factors that may compromise both of these important characteristics inside of a nail salon.
Environmental factors within a nail salon that can taint both the health and safety in the salon will include conditions in the workplace, such as the temperature, ventilation, and the overall noise within this indoor space. Occupational factors are any potential risks of illness due to the services or treatments that they offer to Customers, such as asthma from exposure to chemical products used in nail salons. Lastly, human factors inside of a nail salon are related to how people can contribute to accidents due to carelessness, errors, or haste.
Nail Salon Health Risks
There is an array of potential health risks that an individual may come into contact with during their time at a nail salon, particularly those people who spend a large amount of time in this indoor space like nail salon workers. According to Moffitt Cancer Center, there are several main health risks that are present in nail salons, and these risks can apply to both Customers and workers in this commercial space. The major health risks can include ultraviolet (UV) light, hazardous chemicals, and specific cancer-causing compounds that are used and produced in the indoor air space of the salon.
- Ultraviolet (UV) Light: In a salon, there are a variety of services that will require the use of UV lights to harden and cure a topcoat of nail polish. Gel manicures and pedicures will require this UV light exposure and help to increase the longevity of the nail polish and keep the polish from chipping. The UV light lamps are very similar to the lights that are used in tanning beds. When an individual is exposed to the UV radiation produced from the lamps used in a nail salon it can promote skin damage and even cancer in some cases.
- Chemical Exposure: As we discussed previously, there are a wide range of products that are used in nail salons and some of these chemicals can be fairly dangerous to human health when exposure occurs in large quantities. Many of the chemicals found in nail salons like toluene, formaldehyde, acetone, and other chemicals will provoke health issues like skin irritation, headaches, breathing difficulties, and allergic reactions.
Nail salon workers are at an alarming risk of acquiring and developing several health issues due to their hand on exposure with these health hazards, as well as the high levels of exposure that they will incur during a workday. Many nail salons will require their employees to wear protective equipment while they work such as gloves, face masks, and aprons to cover their body from potential chemical exposure.
Safe Nail Salons Ventilation
Ventilation is key when it comes to promoting a safe, healthy space inside of a nail salon business. Many nail salons had previously skimped out when it came to installing proper ventilation and air quality solutions within their businesses indoor space, and focused more on furniture, nail equipment, and labor. However, with more and more research that has come out and regulations that have been set by different states and OSHA, these commercial spaces are now having to focus more attention and money on integrating proper ventilation systems in these indoor spaces.
Indoor ventilation systems are used in commercial spaces to help increase air flow, push out contaminated air, and to aid in the mitigation process of removing odors and chemicals from the indoor air space. Nail salons are known for their overabundant production of chemicals and noxious odors from the products that are used each and every day in these indoor spaces, and thus the ventilation systems in these areas will help increase the safety in this space, created a more appealing environment to Customers and workers, and to improve the indoor air quality in the space.
Nail Salon Air Purifier
The integration of a proper commercial ventilation system in a nail salon will be crucial to the success of the commercial space, especially when it comes to protecting the health and safety of all individuals that are exposed to this environment. Although the ventilation systems will help the indoor environment by allowing air flow throughout the space to push out stagnant air and allow fresh air to invade the air, this does not mean that all chemicals and odors will be removed from the air. Thus, it may be beneficial to add a source of air purification within the indoor space of a nail salon air quality to help mitigate and completely remove those stubborn chemical fumes and noxious odors in the air.
The EnviroKlenz Air Purifier is an efficient and highly effective air filtration device that works through the use of a patented earth mineral technology that is nontoxic and safe for complete chemical and odor neutralization, especially as a nail salon air purifier. The technology works by capturing, containing, and neutralizing a broad spectrum of noxious and toxic chemicals and odors from the airspace, completely destroying them without a chance for re-releasing them into the air of the environment. The EnviroKlenz technology is unlike other air purification technologies, such as carbon, ionizers, and ozone, all of which will either work by storing pollutants on a filter media or by using a product to attach to the pollutants in the air – which can be more dangerous in most cases. Instead of filtering pollutants through these popular methods, EnviroKlenz will actually take in and completely neutralize pollutants from the environment, leaving you with no worries or fears that they will once again be re-released into your indoor air space.
Air for HVAC Filter
The OdorKlenz-Air Cartridge for HVAC systems eliminates pollutants, odors and corrosive gasses associated with indoor air quality problems without releasing chemicals, fragrances, or masking agents back into the environment. The cartridges install right into your system and treat the air as your system is running and begins to immediately improve indoor air quality the moment installed.
✓ Technology originally designed for chemical warfare decontamination
✓ Patented Earth Mineral Technology works to attack the VOC and break down on a compound level.
✓ Can be incorporated into an existing air handling system (HVAC) and configurations, or used in portable/mobile air filtration systems
✓ No chemicals or masking agents
✓ Will not release any chemicals back into your environment
✓ Offers superior performance when compared to commercially available counterparts
✓ Comes in a variety of custom sizes and depths