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Salon chemical use under increased scrutiny

Tennessee manicurists may not know about reports that link potentially dangerous chemicals in some nail salon products to serious health problems. Nail salon products that include chemicals such as formaldehyde may be associated with serious medical problems such as cancer, miscarriages, asthma and respiratory disease. Efforts to regulate these chemicals have generally been unsuccessful.

After the New York Times oublished articles meant to draw attention to the issue of possibly harmful chemicals in salon products, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio came out against the chemicals. Cuomo issued emergency regulations on these potentially harmful chemicals in an attempt to make work safer for nail salon employees. De Blasio also announced that he would be making efforts to regulate the chemicals as well.

OSHA reports that there are twelve or more chemicals that could cause serious and potentially fatal health problems for salon employees. The worst chemicals make up the so-called 'toxic trio" of dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde, all of which have been purportedly linked to the most serious health problems the studies reported. These health problems include cancer, birth defects, lung and kidney failure and miscarriages. Several countries have banned the chemicals while others have put warning labels on products that contain them. The United States, however, has done neither.

The focus on the possible regulation of these chemicals may make it easier for employees who have been exposed to them to pursue a claim for workers' compensation benefits if they subsequently become ill as a result of the exposure. As an occupational disease is in some cases harder to document than a workplace injury, the assistance of an attorney in preparing a claim may be advisable.

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