French and Swedish researchers discovered how hairdressers and beauticians have higher risks of developing respiratory problems, skin allergies, and even cancer due to their daily exposure to cosmic chemical products and the lack of ventilation in beauty salons.
Jöel Marashin, the author of the article Hairdressing and beauty care, states how workers of the beauty sector are more prone to develop asthma, respiratory problems, and even cancer due to the high exposure to hazardous chemicals. Marashin pointed out how French researchers discovered that the beauty salons industry had high percentages of occupational diseases from all the working sectors in Europe. An occupational disease is a health issue or disorder induced by your work environment or activities connected to your work (e.g., cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, post-traumatic stress, etc.). According to the study, asthma, rhinitis, eczema, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) were the most common occupational diseases suffered by hairdressers.
Daily, hairdressers are exposed to shampoos, lotions, hair colorants, bleaching products, straightening, and curling treatments. All these products, plus the lack of ventilation in most hair salons, are reasons why workers from this sector are more prone to develop occupational diseases. Hairdressers are exposed to dozens of toxic products because shampoos, bleachers, and hair lotions are labeled as cosmetics, not as chemicals. Even though the European Union has excluded hair products from the group of chemicals, bleaching, coloring, and straightening products, in particular, contain a variety of harmful chemicals, irritants, and allergens that can damage the skin, eyes, and most importantly, the respiratory system.
Lack of ventilation and the dozens of chemicals in hair products are the ones to blame. The majority of hairdressing salons are not equipped with proper ventilation that eliminates and removes all the toxic chemical particles lingering in the air. Poor ventilation means that workers from the beauty sector and also their clientele breathe irritant toxic chemicals mostly every day. According to a field survey conducted by an occupational health service in France, salon workers experienced respiratory issues such as rhinitis, recurrent coughs, and shortness of breath. Hairdressing has one of the highest percentages of occupational asthma, and over 20% originated in the beauty industry.
Harmful chemicals in hair salons?
Shortness of breath and high cases of asthma are caused by the number of chemicals that hairdressers inhale daily. Research done by Lund University in Sweden discovered the high amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air of a beauty salon. VOC are chemical pollutants that are emitted as gasses to the air; most VOCs are dangerous to our health due to the various adverse effects they cause in our system. The university’s study demonstrated thirty-five different airborne compounds in hair salon air; most of them are irritants.
After analyzing the data, researchers discovered that there are three types of hazardous chemicals in hair salons.
Dibutyl phthalate, which is included in nail polishes and hardeners, can irritate the respiratory tract.
Toluene, present in nail polishes and fingernail glues, is a chemical that can irritate the lungs and respiratory tract. Asthma has been connected to the use of toluene.
Formaldehyde, a chemical found in nail polishes and hardeners, can induce coughing, breathing problems, and asthma-like symptoms. Salon products may also contain other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), bleach, ammonia, and strong fragrances, in addition to the toxic three. When inhaled, any of these compounds might cause respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, nasal congestion, throat discomfort, or shortness of breath. Also, their studies indicated that 40% of Norwegian hairdressers left the profession because of asthma or hand eczema (irritation in hands due to the high use of bleachers and other types of chemicals)
Adequate ventilation and air purifiers
Many manicure and hair salons do not have adequate ventilation. Fumes, odors, and emissions can stay in the air for a long time, and you will continue to breathe them in throughout your visit. For hairdressers and customers to decrease the exposure to harmful gasses, adequate ventilation is essential.
Doctor Philip Hopke, a public health scientist from the University of Rochester, New York, experimented to know if air purifiers reduce the chemical pollutants in hair salons. After testing, he stated that using air purifiers plus having a window open did reduce the air chemicals of hair salons. He said that before adequate ventilation, the number of hair dying treatments impacted benzene and toluene concentrations, making the indoor air quality dangerous for hairdressers and their clients.
It is clear that the amount of chemicals hairdressers is exposed to each day is dangerous for their health. For the safety of beauty workers and their clients, a good quality air purifier is essential. Our company provides medical-grade air purifiers with six high-tech filtration stages. Each filter has a specific role and works with different technology. Each AIR8 air purifier is equipped with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter); these filters remove harmful airborne pollutants such as COVID-19, formaldehyde, strong odors, and more. Our air purifiers are the solution for the hair salon industry; with our powerful machines, their clients and especially the workers will work safely and with clean air.