Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, in collaboration with Parkdale Queen West Community Heath Centre and the Healthy Nail Salons Network, have found that nail technicians in discount salons are exposed to several chemicals widely used as plasticizers and flame retardants.
The study, published this week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, found that exposure to some hazardous chemicals was higher among nail technicians than among electronic waste workers.
The study reported higher exposures of several phthalate plasticizers, which was expected given the use of these chemicals in personal care products. One phthalate plasticizer, DEHP, which is not allowed for use in cosmetics under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, was found at low levels.
However, the researchers did not expect to find high levels of flame retardants that are not known to be used in personal care products.
Several of the chemicals studied have some restrictions on their use (or restrictions are proposed) under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Yet, most of these chemicals are not explicitly regulated in Ontario workplaces. The specific source of these chemicals in nail salons was not determined in the study.
The chemicals in question have been associated with adverse health effects, including neurological and reproductive effects, with some evidence that in utero exposure may be important.
Release date: 14 February 2022
Source: University of Toronto