12 common chemicals found in nail salons

We found this great graphic on the DOL’s blog that outlines five steps to prevent chemical exposures and protect nail salon worker health.

12 common chemicals found in nail salons

According to OSHA, there are more than 375,000 U.S. nail technicians and they face possible health hazards every day.

OSHA lists the following 12 potentially hazardous chemicals, the types of products they can be found in, and how they can affect a worker include:

  • Acetone (nail polish remover): headaches; dizziness; and irritated eyes, skin, and throat.
  • Acetonitrile (fingernail glue remover): irritated nose and throat; breathing problems; nausea; vomiting; weakness; and exhaustion.
  • Butyl acetate (nail polish, nail polish remover): headaches and irritated eyes, skin, nose, mouth, and throat
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), (nail polish): nausea and irritated eyes, skin, nose, mouth, and throat. Long-term exposures to high concentrations may cause other serious effects.
  • Ethyl acetate (nail polish, nail polish remover, fingernail glue): irritated eyes, stomach, skin, nose, mouth, and throat; high levels can cause fainting.
  • Ethyl methacrylate (EMA), (artificial nail liquid): asthma; irritated eyes, skin, nose, and mouth; difficulty concentrating. Exposures while pregnant may affect your child.
  • Formaldehyde (nail polish, nail hardener): difficulty breathing, including coughing, asthma-like attacks, and wheezing; allergic reactions; irritated eyes, skin, and throat. Formaldehyde can cause cancer.
  • Isopropyl acetate (nail polish, nail polish remover): sleepiness, and irritated eyes, nose, and throat.
  • Methacrylic acid (nail primer): skin burns and irritated eyes, skin, nose, mouth, and throat. At higher concentrations, this chemical can cause difficulty breathing.
  • Methyl methacrylate (MMA), (artificial nail products, though banned for use in many states): asthma; irritated eyes, skin, nose, and mouth; difficulty concentrating; loss of smell.
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds (disinfectants): irritated skin and nose and may cause asthma.
  • Toluene (nail polish, fingernail glue): dry or cracked skin; headaches, dizziness, and numbness; irritated eyes, nose, throat, and lungs; damage to liver and kidneys; and harm to unborn children during pregnancy.

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