Nails Magazine

MAY 2017

Magazine for the professional nail industry.

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MAY 2017 | NAILS MAGAZINE | 125 >>> I s t h e s a l o n a s a f e e n vi r o n m e n t f o r a p r e g n a n t w o m a n ? Most expectant mothers' health concerns fall into two main categories: exposure and ergonomics. Both are valid. Chemicals in the salon are known allergens with documented reports of adverse side effects. Inadequate work spaces, coupled with the exhaustion of a long work day, create conditions that can force the body into positions that cause chronic pain. That certainly doesn't sound like it would be good for the baby. But here's the thing: It's not good for the mother either. There are important salon safety standards that every nail tech should heed — whether she's working to protect one body or two. EXPOSURE "Women should protect themselves from exposure whether they are pregnant or not," says Dr. Anthony Scialli, a specialist in reproductive and developmental toxicology and Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at George Washington University School of Medicine. "In general, the embryo and fetus are not the most sensitive parts of a mother," he says. Adhering to safety guidelines that protect the mother's respiratory tract, kidney, and liver "will generally be sufficient to protect the embryo and fetus," he explains. While it's important to review the ways we can create a healthier environment for clients, techs, and developing baby, it's just as vital to remember that documented factors outside the salon can also pose an equal or greater risk to a mother's overall health, respiratory tract, and liver. "The most common known cause of birth defects and other childhood disabilities is alcohol, and cigarette smoking is a life-long risk to health that also has consequences during pregnancy," says Dr. Scialli. CHEMICALS: VAPORS OSHA lists a dozen "potentially hazardous chemicals" that a nail tech is likely to be exposed to on any given day. These include acetone, butyl acetate, ethyl methacrylate, isopropyl acetate, and others. Meanwhile, "potentially hazardous" does not automatically translate to a health Priorities shift the moment you realize you're pregnant, and that could cause you to evaluate if you'll continue working. Before you throw your career out with the pedicure water, let's practice our breathing and consider how to work safely in the salon. BY MICHELLE PRATT crisis. It simply means it is wise to take precautions while using these products. Beyond those listed under OSHA's Guidelines for Nail Salon Workers, techs will come into contact with chemicals used in common cleaners and disinfectants as they clean surfaces, tools, and pedicure bowls. All chemicals should be approached with the goal of limiting exposure. Women who are pregnant can become highly sensitive to smells. Familiar and even welcome smells can suddenly cause nausea and headaches. But it's not the odor that causes the safety concern. The concern is the vapors chemicals release, because the danger is in inhaling those fumes. And be aware: Women shouldn't be inhaling those fumes at all — regardless of whether they are pregnant or not. is a service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS). OTIS provides evidence-based information on the safety of medications and other exposures during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. An entire section of their "resource vault" is dedicated to the effects medications, herbal products, and vaccines have on pregnancy. They also have FAQ sheets addressing occupational exposures, with one devoted to salon workers entitled "Working in a Nail Salon." notes some salons have higher- than-recommended levels of formaldehyde, and methyl methacrylate has also been measured in the air of nail salons. Those levels come from vapors that release chemicals into the air. This should serve as a warning to nail techs that ventilation is essential. Approach vapor removal using a three-pronged protection plan. First, confirm the HVAC system in your building is working properly and all filters are clean. Doug Schoon, founder of Schoon Scientific + Regulatory Consulting, reminds techs that "circulating is not ventilation." A properly functioning HVAC system isn't sufficient to ventilate the salon. Along with an adequate HVAC system, it's essential to capture the vapors at the desk level upon their release. Once captured, vapors should be sucked or "vacuumed" away from the tech's breathing area and released outside the salon.

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