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Formaldehyde in Hair/Beauty Salons

If you need assistance with formaldehyde in hair/beauty salons as discussed in this article, call us at 1-800-344-4414 for email us at info@atlenv.com for details and a free estimate.

Written By: Robert E. Sheriff, MS, CIH, CSP, President

October 3, 2018

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have recently begun looking into complaints from hair salon owners, stylists and clients about formaldehyde in certain hair straightening products.

Despite the fact that many of these products’ labels claim to be “Formaldehyde-Free,” NIOSH found as much as 11% formaldehyde by weight in some. During product application and hair drying procedures, formaldehyde is released. Not only are the hair stylist and the client subject to exposure to formaldehyde, but other people in the salon are, as well.

The current OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for formaldehyde is 0.75 parts per million (ppm), expressed as the average concentration in the air over the full, 8-hour work shift and is intended to protect hair stylists from overexposure. This is often written as the Time-Weighted Average (TWA). The NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL), averaged over a 10-hour day is 0.016 ppm. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has recommended a not-to-exceed ceiling limit of 0.3 ppm. NIOSH labels formaldehyde as a potential occupational carcinogen (cancer causing substance). ACGIH lists it as a suspect human carcinogen. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers formaldehyde as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

Check labels. A hair straightening product may claim to be formaldehyde-free, but if the label lists methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanol, oxomethane or oxymethylene, these are all either other names for formaldehyde or are the names of chemicals that can release formaldehyde into the air.

The only way to determine if people in a salon are exposed to formaldehyde when using hair care products is to analyze a sample of air in their breathing zones for formaldehyde. The Industrial Hygienists and Environmental Consultants at Atlantic Environmental, Inc. have more than 100 years’ combined experience in air sampling/testing, analysis and data interpretation, assuring you of reliable guidance.

If interested in further information or testing, call us at +1-800-344-4414 or e-mail us at info@atlenv.com.

Our primary service areas for Formaldehyde Sampling/Testing and Consulting are: NJ, NY, NYC, PA, CT, DE, (Boston) MA, RI, Wash DC, WI, MD, MI, (Chicago) IL, VA, IN, (Atlanta) GA, AL, NC, SC, TN, (Dallas, Ft. Worth) TX, OK, DC, AR, we can service most other areas of the U.S. but with some added travel charges.

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