Workers Health & Safety Centre

NNEWH to host talk on how to make nail salons healthier places to work and visit

NNEWH to host talk on how to make nail salons healthier places to work and visit
The NNEWH is teaming up with the Central Toronto Community Health Centre to host an informative evening on how to make nail salons healthier places to work and visit.

The National Network on Environments and Women’s Health (NNEWH) is a project-based research centre focused primarily on policy-oriented research relating to the impact of different environments on the health of women. The event they are presenting is titled, Beyond the Mani-Pedi: What are Those Chemicals Doing to our Health?

Open to the public this free event features two women researchers Thu Quach and Minhthu Le from the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.

Thu Quach, chair of the Collaborative’s Research Committee and research scientist with the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, has conducted extensive studies in the beauty and nail care industry. One of her studies focused on chemical exposures in the growing nail salon industry, which has a large proportion of Vietnamese immigrant workers in California. The overall goal of the study was to reduce toxic chemical exposures within the salon environment to prevent health problems within this workforce.  Chemical exposures are of high concern for nail salon workers who handle nail care products containing many hazardous compounds.

While health impacts such as rashes, headaches, dizziness and respiratory problems have been well-documented in salons, little research has been conducted on the long-term, chronic health impacts resulting from workplace exposures.

Says Quach, “Given the multitude of compounds that may increase the risk of cancer and other chronic illnesses there is a real need for additional research to examine the long term health effects of working in this industry.”

In the meantime though, nail salon employers and workers can take precautionary steps to protect workers’ health and that of their clients through proper ventilation; safe work practices; and as a last resort personal protective equipment (such as goggles, disposable gloves, and ventilators).

The most effective means of controlling worker/client exposure is by substituting the toxic products with safer alternatives. Two types of products that could be considered safer alternatives are 3-free products (made without the “toxic trio” toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate) and acid free products (primers made without methacrylic acid). It is important however, to check the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) to ensure that the alternative products are themselves safe.
Beyond the Mani-Pedi: What are those chemicals doing to our health?
When: Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Lillian H. Smith Library, Auditorium
239 College Street, Toronto
Speakers: Thu Quach
Research Scientist, Cancer Prevention Inst. Of California
Assistant Professor, Stanford University
Minhthu Le
Research Assistant, Cancer Prevention Inst. of California
Licensed manicurist
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