, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 508-514,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 14 Jun 2013

Indoor Air Quality Survey of Nail Salons in Boston

Abstract

Employees in nail salons, largely Vietnamese immigrant women in Boston, are exposed to a range of volatile organic chemicals from the products used in salons, including solvents, glues and polishes. Some of these chemicals have the potential to cause short and long-term adverse health effects. Only limited research has been performed on assessing occupational exposures. This project aimed to characterize total volatile organic compound (TVOC) and PM2.5 concentrations in nail salons as a function of ventilation, building characteristics, customer and employee occupancy, and type of services being performed. Students conducted sampling in 21 salons in Boston, MA from September to December, 2011. Study visits included: indoor environmental quality measurements (TVOCs, PM2.5 and carbon dioxide), site observations, and an interview. CO2 levels in 15 of 21 salons exceeded 800 ppm, suggesting that these salons may have insufficient ventilation. Higher TVOC and PM2.5 levels were found in salons with less ventilation (as estimated using CO2 concentrations). Contrary to our a priori hypothesis, average levels of TVOCs, CO2 and PM2.5 were consistent throughout salons, indicating that exposures may not be restricted to areas in the salon where work is being performed (e.g., at the manicure table). Higher TVOC concentrations were observed when tasks were being performed, yet were not dependent upon the number of tasks being performed. Improving ventilation conditions in salons to meet minimum outdoor air delivery requirements can reduce exposures to TVOCs.