The nail polish industry is a $7 billion business. Today is Mother’s Day in the United States, and many moms out there will be going out to have a manicurist pamper them with a manicure, pedicure, or both. You may want to think twice about what type of nail polish that you get.
The nail polish that is raising health concerns is gel nail polish. When a person is getting gel nail polish, they need to expose their hands to UV light in order for the nail polish to dry properly. Dr. John Humeniuk addresses the concerns about why gel nail polish and the UV drying light could become dangerous.
“Some concerns were raised several years ago about the possibility of skin cancers from using ultraviolet lights. These ultraviolet units are actually the same kind of bulbs essentially that you see in tanning beds which does cause wrinkles and skin cancers if you do use it for a lot of exposure.”
The use of this nail polish also causes some concern when it comes to what the gel polish does to your nail, Dr. Humeniuk explains.
“The use of these gels these acrylics the light will actually cause the original nail plate to actually separate from the bed and now you have a gap where moisture or bacteria and yeast can grow, so this actually is more of the bigger problems.”
It is not just the customers who are at a health risk here. Manicurists spend all day around chemicals that they breathe in and come in contact with. Some of the harshest chemicals found in a nail salon are formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. These chemicals are why workers who are applying nail polish will be wearing a mask. These masks may not be as protective as they need to be.
The problems that are being reported by workers in nail salons are typically problems that deal with the lungs. It is not uncommon for these workers to have similar problems as people who smoke or have asthma.
Another large problem that impacts the nail polish industry relates to pregnancy. Some female workers have problems carrying a baby to term or the baby is found to have some sort of birth defect. These problems are coming from the chemical exposure from nail polish and the other tools of the trade.
What do you think can be done to improve the safety of the nail polish industry? Are the problems we are seeing with women the reason more men are being hired by these places?
[Image via Osha.gov]