There are over 375,000 nail salon workers across the United States, who are exposed to dangerous health hazards like glues, polishes, removers, and other products; and also risk infections from contact with clients’ skin, nails, or blood.

Nail polishes and other nail products commonly contain what’s nicknamed the “toxic trio” of formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and toluene, which can have serious health ramifications when inhaled regularly without proper ventilation. Formaldehyde has been labeled a carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, dibutyl phthalate has been linked to birth defects, and toluene has been shown to damage both the reproductive and nervous systems.

NYCOSH fights for healthy nail salons

The “toxic trio” is just the tip of the iceberg; there are dozens of other toxins in nail salons that are dangerous to both workers and consumers alike and can cause headaches, asthma, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and more. Using less toxic chemicals, keeping the workplace well-ventilated, properly sterilizing tools, and wearing personal protective equipment,  are just some of the ways workplaces can be made healthier.

 Your Rights

If you feel like you are not well protected from the hazards at your beauty salon, you have a legal right to a safer workplace. You are entitled to training as well as the proper safety equipment for any dangerous tools being used on the job. If you’d like to get involved in fighting for your rights, join NYCOSH in advocating for heathy salons!

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NYCOSH Fact Sheets