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Worker exposures to dusts and vapors in nail salons.

Tumpowsky C
SENSOR Occup Lung Dis Bull 1997 Oct; :1-2
The Occupational Health Surveillance Program (OHSP) is happy to announce that it has received an additional five years of funding for surveillance of work-related asthma under the NIOSH SENSOR program. We are looking forward to building on the strong surveillance system already in place by increasingly linking our surveillance findings to intervention efforts in the state. OHSP will continue to disseminate information about work-related asthma and surveillance findings to physicians and other health care providers in the state through the Bulletin. We plan to expand its distribution beyond the current mailing list of allergists and pulmonary specialists. Because expansion of the Bulletin will be more costly and more labor intensive, we have decided to publish it on a quarterly basis. The next issue will be in January 1998. This month we call your attention to the health hazards associated with a growing industry - nail salons. This article appeared in the Connecticut Department of Public Health's newsletter in August of this year and is based, in part, on work being done in other SENSOR states. Nail Application: Artificial fingernails, also known as sculptured or acrylic nails have become increasingly popular since the 1970's. In the US, billions of dollars are spent on artificial nails, and approximately two thousand nail salons are opening each year. At the cost of enhancing customer appearances, nail technicians, cosmetologists, and manicurist could potentially be paying the price with their health. Toxic vapors from the chemicals used to construct the artificial nails and dusts from motorized and manual filing can cause health problems including occupational asthma. Acrylic nails are created using a methacrylate monomer liquid and polymer powder. The nail surface is first roughened by sanding or filing. The nail technician then dips a small brush into liquid methacrylate monomer and then into powdered polymer. The powder contains a peroxide accelerator which catalyzes the liquid monomer into a polymer. The mixture is applied to the nail using an extender mold. After the resin dries, the mold is removed and the nail is ready for filing. The process takes 1 to 2 hours for initial application, and 30 minutes to 1 hour for "fill ins", which are done when the natural nail grows and the space between the artificial nail and the cuticle needs filling in. The first artificial fingernails were made by applying methyl methacrylate (MMA) dental acrylate to fingernails. In 1974, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of MMA from all artificial nail preparations because it caused nail deterioration and dislocation and allergic dermatitis in customers and nail technicians. MMA has been substituted with ethyl and other methacrylates. Despite the ban, studies have found that there are still some nail products that contain MMA.
Occupational-diseases; Occupational-health; Lung-disease; Work-environment; Occupational-exposure; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Bronchial-asthma; Employee-exposure; Occupational-respiratory-disease; Health-care; Surveillance-programs; Lung-irritants; Case-studies; Medical-services; Emergency-care; Airway-resistance; Chemical-properties; Vapors; Irritants; Cosmetics-industry; Cosmetics-workers; Cosmetics; Indoor-air-pollution; Indoor-environmental-quality; Acrylics; Methacrylates; Toxic-vapors; Toxic-materials; Dust-particles; Dusts; Polymers; Peroxides; Allergic-dermatitis; Allergic-reactions; Flammable-liquids
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Surveillance Program, 250 Washington Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02108
Publication Date
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Cooperative Agreement
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Source Name
SENSOR Occupational Lung Disease Bulletin
Performing Organization
Massachusetts State Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division