When people think of the job-related injuries salon workers suffer, many of them think of back and neck issues, feet issues and other issues related to standing for a significant amount of time. Other people may think of carpel tunnel syndrome, which many salon workers also suffer. People would be right in these assessments, but another, perhaps more debilitating, issue also exists.
Salon workers such as yourself are exposed to numerous chemicals throughout the day, every day they work. If the ventilation in the salon is poor, the exposure could be worse. Hair dyes, acrylic nail products, permanent wave solutions and bleaches all give off potentially toxic chemicals. The air in most salons has at least some concentration of chemicals such as acetone, formaldehyde, ammonia and toluene, along with methyl methacrylate.
How do these chemicals affect salon workers?
Obviously, it can't be good for you to breathe in or touch these chemicals regularly, but that is exactly what you do. Even as the nail techs wear masks when working with acrylic nail products, you don't wear such protection just feet away as you cut the hair of your client. Every time you give a perm, color a client's hair or straighten it, you put your health at risk.
Researchers have conducted numerous studies and surveys to find out the health consequences of working in a salon. Below are some of the health conditions that salon workers suffer from or have an increased risk of suffering from:
- Decreased lung function
- Bladder cancer
- Dermatitis on the hands
- Cancer of the larynx
- Babies with low birth weights
- Babies with cleft palates
- Alzheimer's disease
- Presenile dementia
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Motor neuron disease
It's possible that other conditions are missing from this list. Even so, it appears obvious that working in a salon may be hazardous to your health.
What to do about it
Hopefully, the salon owner takes whatever steps are necessary in order to reduce your risk of suffering from any of the above health consequences. You should receive masks and gloves to protect you, and the salon should have adequate ventilation. It may also be time to create new salon products that don't include these toxic chemicals. In the meantime, if you suffer health issues due to the chemicals in the salon you work in, you may have legal options.