Airborne exposure to chemical substances in hairdresser salons

  • Elena RondaEmail author
  • Bjorg Eli Hollund
  • Bente E. Moen


Several studies indicate health problems among hairdressers to be related to their chemical exposure at work. The purpose of this study was to describe the exposure of chemical compounds in the air of Spanish hairdresser salons, and to study differences between salons in central and suburban areas. Ten hairdresser salons were examined for two days, by recording number and type of customers, ventilation and size of salon. Both stationary and personal borne samples for organic compounds were collected, as well as stationary samples of ammonia. TVOC was calculated. Air temperature, relative humidity, CO and CO2 were logged for 48 h in each salon. Fifty-six personal and 28 stationary samples were analysed for organic compounds. Thirty-five different air-borne compounds were found in the working environment of the hairdressers. All levels were well below the limit values in Spain and USA, both for ammonia and organic compounds. TVOC ranged from 48.37 mg/m3 to 237.60 mg/m3, meaning that many salons had levels above suggested comfort values of 25. There were only minor differences in exposure between central and suburban salons. No salons had ventilation systems, and the CO2 was increasing during the day. The exposure was higher for several chemical compounds when hair dying was performed. Hairdressers were exposed to low air levels of a large number of chemical substances mostly related to work related to hair dying. There were no differences between exposure levels in salons in central and suburban areas.


Dyes Hairdressers Temperature TVOC 


  1. Albin, M., Rylander, L., Mikoczy, Z., Lillienberg, L., Dahlman Hoglund, A., Brisman, J., et al. (2002). Incidence of asthma in female Swedish hairdressers. Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 59, 119–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists: TLVs. (2004). Valores Límite para Sustancias Químicas y Agentes Físicos en el ambiente de trabajo e Índices Biológicos de Exposición para 2004. Versión autorizada en castellano y editada por la Consejería de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales de la Generalidad Valenciana. Valencia.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, J. (2000). The chemistry of hair colorants. Journal of the Society of Dyers and Colourists, 116, 193–196.Google Scholar
  4. Andersson, K., Bakke, J. V., Bjørseth, O., Bornehag, C. G., Clausen, G., Hongslo, J. K., et al. (1997). TVOC and health in non-industrial indoor environments. Indoor Air, 7, 78–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bornehag, C. G., Sundell, J., Weschler, C. J., Sigsgaard, T., Lundgren, B., Hasselgren, M., et al. (2004). The association between asthma and allergic symptoms in children and phthalates in house dust: A nested case-control study. Environmental Health Perspectives, 112, 1393–1397.Google Scholar
  6. Czene, K., Tiikkaja, S., & Hemminki, K. (2003). Cancer risk in hairdressers: Assessment of carcinogenicity of hair dyes and gels. International Journal of Cancer, 105, 108–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Descatha, A., Jenabian, A., Conso, F., & Ameille, J. (2005). Occupational exposures and haematological malignancies: Overview on human recent data. Cancer Causes Control 2005, 16, 939–953.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Evci, E. D., Bilgin, M. D., Akgör, S., Zencirci, S. G., Ergin, F., & Beser, E. (2007). Measurement of selected indoor physical environmental factors in hairdresser salons in a Turkish City. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 134(1–3), 471–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gago-Dominguez, M., Castelao, E. C., Yuan, J. M., & Ross, R. K. (2001). Use of permanent hair dyes and bladder-cancer risk. International Journal of Cancer, 91, 575–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. García, A. M. (1999). Condiciones de trabajo y reproducción: un recorrido por las evidencias. Archivos de prevención de riesgos laborales, 2, 19–25.Google Scholar
  11. Gold, E. B., Tomich, E. (1994).Occupational hazards to fertility and pregnancy outcome. In: Gold EB, Lasley BL, Schenker M (eds) Reproductive hazards. Occupational Medicine State of the Art Review 1994, 9: 435–469.Google Scholar
  12. Health and Safety Executive (1994). Standard International Classification. Accessed 8 May 2008.
  13. Hollund, B. E., & Moen, B. E. (1998). Chemical exposure in hairdresser salons: effect of local exhaust ventilation. Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 42, 277–282.Google Scholar
  14. Hollund, B. E., Moen, B. E., Lygre, S. H., Florvaag, E., & Omenaas, E. (2001). Prevalence of airway symptoms among hairdressers in Bergen, Norway. Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 58, 780–785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el trabajo. (2007). Límites de exposición profesional para agentes químicos en el trabajo. Madrid.Google Scholar
  16. International Agency on Research on Cancer Monographs (1999). Re-evaluation of some organic chemicals, hydrazine and hydrogen peroxide dichloromethane. IARC, Geneva, 71, 255.Google Scholar
  17. International Agency on Research on Cancer Monographs (2000). Some industrial chemicals. IARC; Geneva, 77, 36.Google Scholar
  18. International Standard ISO 16000-6. (2004). Indoor air. Part 6: Determination of volatile organic compounds in indoor and test chamber air by active sampling on Tenax TA sorbent, thermal desoption and gas chromatography using MS/FID.Google Scholar
  19. Iorizzo, M., Parente, G., Vincenzi, C., Pazzaglia, M., & Tosti, A. (2002). Allergic contact dermatitis in hairdressers: frequency and source of sensitisation. European Journal of Dermatology, 12, 179–182.Google Scholar
  20. Kenyon, E. M., Kraichely, R. E., Hudson, K. T., & Medinsky, M. A. (1996). Differences in rates of benzene metabolism correlate with observed genotoxicity. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 136, 49–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kersemaekers, W. M., Roeleveld, N., & Zielhuis, G. A. (1995). Reproductive disorders due to chemical exposure among hairdressers. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 21, 325–334.Google Scholar
  22. Kersemaekers, W. M., Roeleveld, N., & Zielhuis, G. A. (1997). Reproductive disorders among hairdressers. Epidemiology, 8, 396–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Labreche, F., Forest, J., Trottier, M., Lalonde, M., & Simard, R. (2003). Characterization of chemical exposures in hairdressing salons. Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 18, 1014–1021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Leino, T., Kahkonen, E., Saarinen, L., Henriks-Eckerman, M. L., & Paakkulainen, H. (1999). Working conditions and health in hairdressing salons. Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 14, 26–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leino, T., Tammilehto, L., Hytonen, M., Sala, E., Paakkulainen, H., & Kanerva, L. (1998). Occupational skin and respiratory diseases among hairdressers. Scand J Work Environ Health, 24, 398–406.Google Scholar
  26. Lind, M. L., Boman, A., Sollenberg, J., Johnson, S., Hagelthorn, G., & Meding, B. (2005). Occupational dermal exposure to permanent hair dyes among hairdressers. Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 49, 473–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Matura, M., Goossens, A., Bordalo, O., Garcia-Bravo, B., Magnusson, K., Wrangsjo, K., et al. (2002). Oxidized citrus oil (R-limonene): a frequent skin sensitizer in Europe. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 47, 709–714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mølhave, I., Clausen, G., Berglund, B., DeCeaurriz, J., Kettrup, A., Lindvall, T., et al. (1997). Total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) in indoor air quality investigations. Indoor Air, 7, 225–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mounier-Geyssant, E., Oury, V., Mouchot, L., Paris, C., & Zmirou-Navier, D. (2006). Exposure of hairdressing apprentices to airborne hazardous substances. Environ Health: A Global Access Science Source, 5, 23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Muiswinkel, W. J., van Kromhout, H., Onos, T., & Kersemaekers, W. M. (1997). Monitoring and modelling of exposure to ethanol in hairdressing salons. Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 41, 235–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Muller, C. (2006). Liver, alcohol and gender. Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift, 156, 523–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Muñoz, X., Cruz, M. J., Orriols, R., Bravo, C., Espuga, M., & Morell, F. (2003). Occupational asthma due to persulfate salts. Chest, 123, 2124–2129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sato, A. (1993). Confounding factors in biological monitoring of exposure to organic solvents. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 65, S61–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sorahan, T., Kinlen, L. J., & Doll, R. (2005). Cancer risks in a historical UK cohort of benzene exposed workers. Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 62, 231–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation. (1989). Report to Congress on Indoor Air Quality, Volume II: Assessment and Control of Indoor Air Pollution. EPA, 4–14. 400-1-89-001C.Google Scholar
  36. Van der Wal, J. F., Hoogeveen, A. W., Moons, A. M. M., & Wouda, P. (1997). Investigation on the exposure of hairdressers to chemical agents. Environment International, 23, 433–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wennborg, H., Magnusson, L. L., Bonde, J. P., & Olsen, J. (2005). Congenital malformations related to maternal exposure to specific agents in biomedical research laboratories. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 47, 11–19.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Ronda
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bjorg Eli Hollund
    • 2
  • Bente E. Moen
    • 3
  1. 1.Public Health DepartmentUniversity of AlicanteAlicanteSpain
  2. 2.X-lab ASBergenNorway
  3. 3.Section for Occupational Medicine, Department of Public Health and Primary Health CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations