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Beauty and its Beast

By Alexandra Scranton - Women's Voices for the Earth, November 2014

3salon workers, a population dominated by women, are exposed to a myriad of chemicals of concern everyday in their workplaces. Hair sprays, permanent waves, acrylic nail application, and numerous other salon products contain ingredients associated with asthma, dermatitis, neurological symptoms and even cancer. Salon workers absorb these chemicals through their skin and breathe them in as fumes build up in the air of the salon over the course of the workday. Research shows that salon workers are at greater risk for certain health problems compared to other occupations. This report will highlight the results of decades of research on the beauty care workforce, demonstrating the disproportionate incidence of cancers, neurological diseases, immune diseases, birth defects, reproductive disorders, skin diseases, asthma, and breathing problems in this population. Clearly, action is needed to improve conditions for salon workers and to help create and ensure healthier workplaces in the future. Recommendations for salon workers, salon owners, salon product manufacturers, and researchers, as well as long-term policy solutions, are presented in this report as options for improving the health and safety of salon workers.

Read the report (PDF).

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