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Chemicals May Raise Health Risks for Nail Salon Workers

Last Updated: May 06, 2011.

One-third report problems such as headaches and irritation of the nose, throat, skin, study finds.

FRIDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Nail salon workers may be at increased risk of exposure to harmful chemicals, a new study warns.

Researchers recruited 80 Vietnamese women who worked at 20 nail salons in California and measured their work-related exposure to toluene, ethyl acetate and isopropyl acetate. The results, published online May 5 in the American Journal of Public Health, showed that the workers were exposed to higher-than-recommended levels of these solvents.

One-third of the women reported health problems such as headaches, irritations, nausea and breathing problems after they started working at a nail salon. Irritations of the nose, throat, lungs, skin and eyes were the most common complaints, reported by 26.5 percent of the study participants, the authors noted in a news release from the American Public Health Association.

"Our findings underscore the need for more attention to preventive public health strategies for this workforce," study author Thu Quach, of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues wrote.

"Recommendations to promote worker health and safety include policy changes to update occupational exposure limits that take into account various chronic health conditions, better regulatory oversight of chemicals in cosmetic products, and more research focused on the health of understudied and vulnerable worker populations," the study authors concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has more about occupational health.

SOURCE: American Public Health Association, news release, May 5, 2011

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