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Dangerous nail salon chemicals under scrutiny

Published on Jun 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm in Workers Compensation.

Maryland residents may have heard about the purported health risks associated with prolonged exposure to chemicals found in nail salons. New research has linked such chemicals to health issues such as asthma, respiratory disease, miscarriages and cancer. The threat is so concerning that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued emergency regulations protecting nail salon workers in May after The New York Times published a series of articles highlighting the dangers of the chemicals.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that there are at least 12 hazardous chemicals present in nail salon products. Of those chemicals, formeldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and toluene are considered the most dangerous, having been linked with cancer, lung and kidney failure, miscarriages and birth defects. Though several countries have banned such chemicals, the United States still allows their use. That is because the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 outlaws the use of harmful chemicals in cosmetics but does not demand that chemical manufacturers test their products or obtain FDA approval before putting them on the market.

New York City now requires nail salon employees to wear protective masks and gloves while working. Salon owners are also required to make sure their businesses are well ventilated at all times. Additionally, the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs has started a campaign to pressure the cosmetic chemical industry into removing hazardous chemicals from its products.

Most Maryland workers are eligible for workers’ compensation coverage, and many are exposed to toxic chemicals at their workplaces. Those who have become ill as a result of such exposure may wish to obtain the assistance of an attorney in preparing and filing a claim for benefits that could help cover the costs of the necessary medical care and treatment.

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