269995 Volatile organic solvents in California nail salons: Personal air exposure findings

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Julia Varshavsky , Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Berkeley
Thu Quach, PhD, MPH , Research, Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Berkeley, CA
Julie Von Behren, MPH , Research, Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Berkeley, CA
My Tong, MPH , Research, Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Berkeley, CA
Tuan Nguyen, CSP, CIH, ARM , Safety and Health Services, State Compensation Insurance Fund, Santa Ana, CA
Alisha Tran , Health Education, Asian Health Services, Oakland, CA
Robert Gunier , Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health (CERCH), School of Public Health, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Peggy Reynolds, PhD , Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Berkeley, CA
Background: Nail care products contain numerous volatile organic compounds (VOC's), which have been measured in nail salons at levels known to cause acute health symptoms among nail technicians. Nail salon workers are often low-income Vietnamese immigrants who have limited access to safety information and health care services. Methods: We measured VOC's in the breathing zone of 26 nail technicians in 8 San Francisco Bay Area nail salons using passive charcoal absorbent air diffusion monitors (3M OVM 3500). Three measurements were taken per worker of toluene, methyl methacrylate (MMA), and total VOC's (TVOC's) before, mid-way and after an owner-to-worker educational intervention promoting strategies to reduce chemical exposures. Results: Toluene levels ranged from 0.01 to 18 ppm with 45% of workers displaying decreased levels of toluene post-intervention. MMA levels ranged from 0.04 to 1014 ppm with a decrease seen in 75% of workers. TVOC levels ranged from 0.22 to 315 ppm with 55% of workers showing a decrease across measurements. Due to small numbers, results are not statistically significant. Conclusions: Some nail salon workers are exposed to levels of VOC's above permissible exposure limits set by the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA). Notably, MMA, a chemical banned for nail care use in California, was found in every salon in our study, and even measured at extraordinarily high levels in one salon. Further study is needed to examine factors influencing high levels of workplace VOC's and optimal strategies for reducing exposures in this workforce.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe chemical exposures that nail salon workers encounter on a daily basis. 2. Evaluate potential sources of chemical exposures in nail salons. 3. Discuss existing literature on chemical exposures in nail salons. 4. Identify characteristics of the Vietnamese American nail salon community that make this population susceptible to occupational chemical exposures.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Asian and Pacific Islander

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently in the Masters in Public Health Industrial Hygiene program at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health and have worked on this project since May 2011.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.