Green Nail Salons Smell a Trend

Workers suffer through long exposure to toxic chemicals, carcinogens
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2010 12:15 PM CST
Green Nail Salons Smell a Trend
A nail technician cleans up her customer's nails.   (AP Photo)

The booming nail salon business has a booming subcategory: green salons. Besides helping the planet, the ecofriendly establishments are healthier than traditional salons for manicurists and other workers, who are exposed to a multitude of toxic chemicals used in their work. “The cost of course is more,” says one salon owner, “but the long-term effects are worth it.”

Uyen Nguyen, whose Oakland salon uses no formaldehyde and has top-notch ventilation, embraced green efforts after her sister-in-law and colleague suffered a miscarriage. Other possible medical consequences include musculoskeletal disorders and breathing problems. The environment at conventional salons is rife with volatile organic compounds—including carcinogens— that evaporate into the air. Workers are “clearly overexposed,” a researcher says. (Read more nail salon stories.)

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