For most people, basic nail care is purely cosmetic. We pride ourselves in our aesthetic grooming processes. But what if these simple steps we take everyday to make ourselves more physically appeasing were actually hurting us more than helping? But how can something so simple, like a french manicure or a glob of red paint really hurt us? Exposure to some chemicals used in nail polishes and salons can range anywhere from cancer to fertility complications or anywhere in between.
Nail care products contain chemicals and other toxic and hazardous ingredients that can cause potential danger to not only the person the user, but also the applier. Researchers have claimed that toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and formaldehyde are the most hazardous of the chemicals found in salons, nicknamed the ‘toxic trio.’
Formaldehyde is typically used to harden the nails and act as a disinfectant for nail care tools.
Toluene is a type of solvent that creates a smooth finish over the nail which helps keeps the pigment and color in place.
And lastly Dibutyl phthalate, this is a substance which is added to polishes which helps provide flexibility which has been directly linked to reproductive problems.
On top of all these chemicals most nail salons lack proper ventilation which leaves air trapped inside small cramped areas forcing the harsh chemicals down both patron and employee. Salon workers are especially at risk due to the continuous exposure, first from direct contact then from airborne infiltration.
Most long term salon workers suffer from memory problems, respiratory issues, cancer, and muscle contractions. Although there are no definitive records claiming that the chemicals found in nail salons cause these specific problems mentioned above, the relations are outstanding, making the patterns hard to ignore.
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