Salons can be a pretty hazardous place to work given that many harmful chemicals can be found in salon products. I’m always reminded of this every time I walk into a salon for a haircut. The overwhelming smell from the products literally stops me in my tracks. Imagine the predominantly female workforce in hair and nail salons who are exposed to these chemicals for many hours at a time on a daily basis.
Women’s Voices of the Earth has once again done some amazing work. They’ve just released a new report showing how these nasty chemicals in salon products harm the health of women working in salons.
This new report, Beauty and its Beast: Unmasking the impact of toxic chemicals on salon workers, is the the first ever to document how toxic chemicals lurking in hair sprays, permanent waves, acrylic nail application and other salon products are harming the health of women who work in salons.
The report finds that salon workers are at an increased risk of cancer, miscarriages, neurological disorders, immune disorders, asthma, dermatitis and more.
The creation of safer products, better laws, and the use of best practices in salons can significantly reduce the health problems experienced by women working in salons.
Congress can pass the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act to ensure salon products are fully labeled and safe for salon worker health.
What the Report Shows
- Harmful and irritating chemicals such as acetone, toluene, ammonia, and methyl methacrylate are commonly found in salon air.
- Cancer-causing formaldehyde can be released from hair straighteners and flat iron sprays when used with high heat.
- Hairdressers and cosmetologists may be more likely to give birth to low birth weight babies, especially when their work involves using hairspray and permanent waves.
- Studies have found increased risks of several types of cancer in hairdressers.
- Nail salon workers have greater risk of immune disorders such as lupus and primary biliary cirrhosis.
Salon Workers Head to D.C. with Report in Hand
With the report as ammunition, Women’s Voices for the Earth is bringing salon workers to Washington DC this week to lobby Congress to pass the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act. They’ll be telling their stories to lawmakers, federal agencies like the FDA, and the media about how their health has been harmed by toxic chemicals.
Everyone has the right to a safe workplace. But as long as companies continue to use harmful chemicals like cancer-causing formaldehyde (found in hair straighteners), styrene (found in hair extension and wig glue), and p-phenylenediamine (found in hair dyes) salon worker’s health will continue to be threatened.
What’s the Solution for Salon Workers?
Women working in salons shouldn’t have choose between their health and their livelihoods. We can support these courageous women by asking our own Congressional representatives to pass the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act HERE.
While we’re waiting for our government to act, salon workers and owners can take the following immediate actions:
- Wear gloves
- Use less toxic products
- Improve salon ventilation systems
- Don’t offer toxic salon services such as a Brazilian Blowout
Salon workers deserve better. Don’t you agree?