Research has shown some startling statistics for people who work in the beauty service industry. The report, appropriately titled “Beauty and Its Beast,” tells us of the alarming number of risks salon workers are exposed to.
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While the risks beauty services have on customers have been well documented in the past, this report by Women’s Voices for the Earth reminds us that salon workers, who are mostly women of color, are also exposed to the same risks and more.
Just look at these unacceptable stats: 60 percent of salon workers suffer from dermatitis and other skin conditions on their hands. There's a high frequency of decreased lung function and developing asthma among workers who offer hair and nail services. Hairdressers are at a higher risk of getting different kinds of cancer and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
You know that distinct smell that permeates salons? It’s the smell of chemicals such as acetone, toluene, ammonia and methyl methacrylate. This creates a hazardous environment for both the customers and the workers. But since the workers are exposed to it for longer periods and more frequently, their bodies absorb more toxins.
Salon workers are therefore joining hands and lobbying Congress pass the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act. There are as many as 94,000 businesses in the U.S. that operate as salons and there is no denying that it’s a huge industry. It's about time someone noticed it needs to have policies that make sure their work environment is up to health standards.