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A Preliminary Community-Based Occupational Health Survey of Black Hair Salon Workers in South Los Angeles


Black hair-salon workers face serious health hazards from the product they use on clients and other health hazards at their work. Currently there is a significant research gap in understanding the prevalence of workplace related exposures and health outcomes. The primary objective of this study was to gather preliminary data on workplace exposures and health outcomes of hair care workers in South Los Angeles. We conducted 22 surveys of salon workers at 16 salons. The results suggest the need for proper health and safety training within the salon worker community, specifically around chemical hair services. The results also suggest ergonomic workstation assessments and recommendations would be beneficial to reduce musculoskeletal disorders. Willingness of stylists to learn more about workplace hazards and how to mitigate their risks was high. Our findings indicate the need for a larger community based participatory research study on the workplace exposures of Black salon workers.

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We would like to thank the salon workers and salon owners for participating in our study, and our collaborators at Black Women for Wellness. We would also like to thank Dr. Bhavna Shamasunder and Dr. Kevin Riley for their help and assistance with the pilot study.


This study was funded in part by The California Wellness Foundation.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Teniope A. Adewumi-Gunn.

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The authors confirm that this article content has no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Adewumi-Gunn, T.A., Ponce, E., Flint, N. et al. A Preliminary Community-Based Occupational Health Survey of Black Hair Salon Workers in South Los Angeles. J Immigrant Minority Health 20, 164–170 (2018).

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  • Occupational health
  • African-American
  • Hair salon
  • Black women
  • Cosmetologist