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Safe Salons

Protecting Salon Workers' Health

The Issue:
Salon workers — a population dominated by women — are exposed to various chemicals of concern everyday in their workplaces associated with asthma, dermatitis, neurological symptoms, cancer & more.

These chemicals can be dangerous, not only for you, but especially for women who work in salons everyday. In addition, cosmetic ingredients are virtually unregulated and salon product ingredients are not required to be labeled, so when it comes to chemical exposure, salon workers and consumers are in the dark.

The bottom line: It’s time to make sure the chemicals used in hair and nail salon products are safe for everyone.

Stories from Salon Workers

Dawn Marino_cropped
DawnFrom lobbying in Washington, D.C. with WVE, blogging about my experiences with formaldehyde poisoning & joining radio broadcasts with Politics Beauty, I hope to protect the health of other consumers and stylists from toxic exposures. Read more.

Saffiyeh Edley
Safiyyah – I’ve recently been diagnosed with Uterine Fibroid tumors, which I found out about after miscarrying my baby.  I’m now speaking up for safe salon products to lawmakers, agencies, and the media.
Read more.

Natalija_sm
NatalijaI was in denial for so long that it was the Brazilian Blowout treatments making me sick–that Brazilian Blowout must be safe if it’s allowed on the market. So I went to D.C. with 14 other salon workers to tell our stories in hopes of making change. Read more.

Jennifer Arce 2
Jennifer – We were getting sicker and sicker with every exposure and was taking us longer to recover each time. Our health and our livelihoods are being taken away from us and we are not going to let this happen without a fight. Read more.

NEW VICTORIES for Cosmetic Safety!

In October 2020, two bills were signed into law in California that will make cosmetics safer AND increase disclosure of ingredients in fragrance.

The Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Right to Know Act (SB 312), is the first law in the nation to require disclosure of fragrance and flavor ingredients in cosmetic and professional salon products. And bill, AB 2762, bans 24 toxic ingredients in cosmetics including mercury, PFAS, formaldehyde and M and O phenylendediamine by 2025. LEARN MORE.

Avoiding Toxic Chemicals in Salon Products

Women working in salons are exposed to these chemicals for many hours at a time on a daily basis. Disturbingly, salon workers are at an increased risk of cancer, miscarriages, neurological disorders, immune disorders, asthma, dermatitis and more. Check out the report and fact sheets for recommendations for making salons safer, and new tips for reducing exposure.

Coronavirus resources:

Reducing Exposures + Safer Disinfectants EPA Certified for COVID-19
Research continues to connect chronic illness — included those linked to exposures from toxic chemicals — with increased risk of both contracting, and being harmed by, coronavirus. Fortunately, best practices can significantly decrease the chance of adverse health impacts of salon work. Learn more.


Additional Resources

Beauty and Its Beast: Unmaking the impact of toxic chemicals on salon workers

Ground-breaking report that analyzes the unique chemical exposures that salon workers experience, the health impacts they suffer, and the need for greater research, regulation, and innovation to ensure improved health and safety in the salon industry. Read report.

cosmetics and personal care products

Report: Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR)

Ensuring the safety and health of cosmetic products is vitally important. From personal health impacts to down-the-drain effects on our environment, citizens are increasingly concerned about the products they use. Currently, the responsibility for the safety of these products is in the hands of the cosmetics manufacturers themselves via the CIR. Read more.

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Jennifer Arce testifying

The Blow-up on Blowouts

Brazilian Blowout and several other leading brands of hair straightening products have been found to contain high levels of formaldehyde (also referred to as methylene glycol). Formaldehyde gas can be severely irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat, and long term exposure to formaldehyde in the workplace has been linked to increased risk of cancer. Learn more.

Español – La explosión de las explosiones Brazilian Blowout y otros productos para alisar el cabello

Hair Straightening Products Containing Formaldehyde

There has been limited testing conducted on these products in recent years, but greater attention on enforcing compliance with safety data sheet laws. In response manufacturers are more frequently admitting both the presence and hazards caused by the formaldehyde contained in their products.  Click here.

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Cosmetics ‘regulations’ continue to fail public health & manufacturers

The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, does not give the FDA the authority to require ingredients used in cosmetics and salon products to be tested for safety. As a result, today it is perfectly legal for cosmetics to contain harmful ingredients linked to cancer, allergens, reproductive harm and more. Learn more.

Toxic Chemicals in Salon Products

Due to a lack of government oversight, many products used in hair and nail salons contain a number of hazardous chemicals that may harm your health. This table contains some particularly toxic chemicals to avoid in salon products, along with the health problems these chemicals are linked to. Learn more.


Nail Files: A Study of Nail Salon Workers and Industry in the United States


Detox Your Booth Webinar: Protecting Salon Workers from Toxic Chemicals


How To Green Your Salon – Advice from Salon Workers

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