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Toxic chemicals put salon workers at risk: report

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Missoula, MT – Salon workers are frequently exposed to products that contain harmful chemicals linked to conditions such as cancer, reproductive issues and asthma, concludes a new report from environmental health advocacy group Women’s Voices for the Earth.

Many salon products contain hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene and ammonium persulfate, according to the report, which cites about 100 studies on salon products’ effects on workers.

Some studies revealed that more than 60 percent of salon workers have skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema and rashes. Additionally, one study found that 9.3 percent of cosmetologists surveyed in Colorado had doctor-diagnosed asthma, and that hairstyle and nail work increased the risk of an asthma diagnosis.

In a study of nail salon workers in Boston, 44 percent had headaches that lessened after they left the salon, and 28 percent experienced lightheadedness or difficulty concentrating at work.

Researchers recommend use of better ventilation, safer products and personal protective equipment. The group calls for greater research and stricter legislation on salon products and urges manufacturers to disclose all product ingredients and provide safety information in several languages.