Table of Contents
ISRN Public Health
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 962014, 7 pages
Research Article

Exposure Assessment in Nail Salons: An Indoor Air Approach

Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA 01854, USA

Received 28 November 2011; Accepted 9 January 2012

Academic Editor: C. Murata

Copyright © 2012 Cora Roelofs and Tuan Do. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Due to the complexity of the nail salon work environment, traditional approaches to exposure assessment in this context tend to mischaracterize potential hazards as nuisances. For this investigation, a workable “indoor air” approach was devised to characterize potential hazards and ventilation in Boston, Massachusetts area nail salons which are primarily owned and staffed by Vietnamese immigrants. A community-university partnership project recruited salons to participate in a short audit which included carbon dioxide measurements and evaluation of other air quality metrics. Twenty-two salons participated. Seventy-three percent of the salons had spot carbon dioxide measurements in excess of 700 ppm, the level corresponding to a ventilation rate recommended for beauty salons. Fourteen salons (64%) did not have a mechanical ventilation system to provide fresh air and/or exhaust contaminated air. The lack of adequate ventilation is of significant concern because of the presence of potentially hazardous chemicals in salon products and the common self-report of symptoms among nail technicians. Community and worker health may be improved through adoption of recommended ventilation guidelines and reduction in the hazard potential of nail products.