Little ones who dream of growing up and becoming professional cosmetologists, nail techs, or any other profession that helps women be as beautiful as they can be do not usually consider their dream a dangerous one, and it should not be. A recent report released by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) about tests done in California nail salons brings up concerns however. In most positions that deal with beauty products day in and day out, there is significant exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. This is not a real issue usually as beauty schools train their students to deal with these safely. The problem comes, when as the report notes, products are mislabeled.
The DTSC randomly selects brands of nail polish to test for toxins that are labeled as not containing them. Recently, they discovered that several brands that claimed to not contain any toxins at all actually did contain certain ones in varying amounts. While consumers are exposed, and there is the potential for harm, the real harm lies with those who are exposed all day every day, the workers.
What does this mean for those who work in the nail field and for those who are training to do so? Basically, enjoy your job, but always remain aware of the dangers just like in any other job. And be proactive. Do not believe everything label you read. It has already been proven that they cannot be trusted. Be your own advocate and do not rely on others to do it for you.
What do safety precautions in nail salons and nail technician schools look like? Well, choose to work in salons that are well ventilated, and if you own a salon, make sure it is well ventilated for the sake of those who work there. Wear the most protective mask available regardless of what the product label says, and take frequent breaks. Also, keep up with reports that are released so that you can know which brands have been found to contain chemicals that they claim not to.
No one else is going to do it for you. Do the best you can with the information you have and take your well-being into your own hands. If you begin to feel ill from chemical exposure, go out and breathe some fresh air during your next break. Keep masks handy, and do not allow yourself to be exposed any more than necessary. Most importantly, as this study shows, don’t always trust the labels and do your research.