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Hazardous nail salon chemicals a growing concern

Colorado residents may have noticed several recent news reports about the possible hazards of nail salon chemicals. New studies suggest that exposure to these chemicals could lead to health problems like cancer, asthma, respiratory disease and miscarriages. The concern is so great that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued new rules to protect nail salon workers in May after The New York Times published several reports highlighting the dangers of working with the chemicals.

The Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 bans the use of toxic chemicals in cosmetics. However, manufacturers of these products are not required to conduct tests on their effects or to obtain regulatory approval prior to placing them on the market. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nail salon products contain at least 12 harmful chemicals, the worst of which are formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and toluene. Known as the "toxic trio," these substances have been connected with incidents of birth defects, miscarriages, kidney and lung failure and cancer. Although these chemicals are outlawed in several countries, the United States still allows them to be used.

In New York, nail salon employees are now required to wear gloves and masks while at work, and salons are mandated to ventilate their establishments. In addition, the city's consumer affairs regulatory agency has asked a trade group made up of cosmetic chemical industry participants to ask its members to stop putting toxic chemicals in their products.

Regardless of occupation, many workers in Colorado are covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance. Those who have suffered health problems due to exposure to toxic chemicals at their place of employment may want to speak with an attorney to determine their eligibility for filing a claim for appropriate benefits.

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