“The Toxic Trio” Puts Nail Salon Worker Health at Risk

The following post has been submitted by guest blogger, Erica Bloom, Outreach Intern at Women’s Voices for the Earth, one of the co-founding organizations of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Every once in a while I enjoy a good manicure. I usually sit back, relax, and socialize with my manicurist. But it wasn’t until I read the report from Women’s Voices for the Earth, “Glossed Over” that I realized that while the technician painted my nails red, we both were being exposed to some not so pretty toxic chemicals.

According to “Glossed Over,” the top three chemicals of concern in many nail polishes are toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate—dubbed the “toxic trio”. These chemicals are linked to cancer, developmental disabilities, and reproductive harm. But while my exposure is limited to the time I spend in the salon, the nail salon worker is exposed to these chemicals everyday for hours at a time, often in poorly ventilated spaces.

The vast majority of these technicians are women (95%) and they are predominately women of color (59%). In comparison to men, women carry the exposure of toxic chemicals in a unique way. For example, many chemicals accumulate in fat, and women generally have a higher percentage of fat tissues than men do. And unfortunately, small daily exposures can lead to chemicals building up in a woman’s body which add up over a lifetime.

Read the rest of the article here, and when you’re done, head over to ECOSS’ Healthy Nail Salons program page to learn how we’re helping many Vietnamese nail salon owners and workers achieve a safer and healthier work environment.

Green Business News

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  1. This is scary. I have always thought of going to a nail salon this weekend for some pampering. Thanks for sharing this info.

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