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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

CUNY Researchers Assess Air Quality Inside New York City Nail Salons

Recent studies of indoor air quality in nail salons have found hazardous airborne contaminants — such as carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and respiratory irritants — originating from commonly used products. Nail salon workers frequently report symptoms consistent with indoor air quality problems, such as respiratory irritation and headaches.

[Photo: Dr. Brian Pavilonis]

The state of New York recently put forth regulations to improve indoor air quality by requiring nail salons to install local exhaust ventilation systems. In advance of the full implementation of the rules by 2021, Dr. Brian Pavilonis, assistant professor of environmental, occupational, and geospatial health sciences at the CUNY School of Public Health, led a pilot study to establish reliable and usable baseline indoor air quality metrics to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of the requirement. The findings were published in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

Dr. Pavilonis and his team measured carbon dioxide CO2 and total organic volatile compounds (TVOC) in ten nail salons in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. Concentrations of TVOC varied between nail salons with an almost tenfold increase in concentrations observed in salons with poor ventilation.

“In order to reduce airborne concentrations of TVOC, nail salons need to continuously use their HVAC system and not recirculate air,” Dr. Pavilonis says.

Results from the study can help inform future exposure assessment, ventilation, and indoor air quality studies conducted in nail salons.

Pavilonis B, Roelofs C, Blair C. J Occup Environ Hyg. 2018 Mar 1:1-23. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2018.1447117