Blowout toxics from your salon!

While focusing on shellac manicures and the blow-out, most people don’t think of the potential health impacts of beauty salons where beauty products often contain numerous toxic chemicals.

Many beauty products contain chemicals that are potentially hazardous to human health. Formaldehyde, for instance, is used as a preservative in cosmetics and has been linked to “significant risk of death from Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and myeloid leukemia.” Phthalates, another commonly found group of chemical in beauty products, are known endocrine disruptors. Phthalates are often a key ingredient in scented products.

While these are all a concern for users of beauty products, it is an even bigger concern for the people who work at beauty salons. The Ministry of Labour has warned “nail salon workers, and their clients, are increasingly at risk of health issues from exposure to hazardous chemicals.” As a result, Environmental Defence, with financial support from the Live Green Toronto ChemTRAC Toxics Reduction Grant, has launched a campaign to educate beauty school students and salon workers about the dangers of exposure to toxic chemicals in their workplace. Increasing awareness among students and employees can lead to improved health outcomes and disease prevention.

Our ‘Blowout Toxics from Your Salon’ project targets high school vocational hairstyling and aesthetic students, professional beauty schools, and salon workers in order to improve occupational health and safety. To do this, we have developed a range of materials.

We are offering free workshops to schools that provide hairstyling and aesthetic courses; our workshops will educate students on how to identify potentially harmful chemicals in products and ways to mitigate exposure. Our mini-website has publicly available resources and information including a downloadable tip sheet with information on how to reduce exposure to chemicals.

Our outreach team will also be distributing information brochures to beauty salons in downtown Toronto to educate workers about safer working conditions. The brochures will outline safe ways to reduce exposure along with information about formaldehyde and phthalates.

If you work at a salon and are concerned about your health, call 311 for more information or check out the ChemTRAC website.

Interested in finding out more? Sign up for our Toxic Nation newsletter where tips and information on toxic chemicals in everyday products will be delivered to your inbox monthly. Download our resource sheet here on chemicals in nail salons. And don’t forget to download your cheat sheet on top ten ingredients to avoid when shopping for cosmetics and household products!