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Do hair salon owners and
operators also need to be environmental lawyers, organic chemists, and
industrial hygienists, in order to make sure that their daily operations are
not violating federal and state health and safety laws? In 2011, The United States Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued citations to, and imposed fines
on, 37 salons and beauty schools and 9
distributors or manufacturers of hair products.
OSHA and state occupational
safety and health agencies regulate hair salons in order to protect the health
of workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals released by hair smoothing or
hair straightening products. OSHA’s
concern has focused on keratin treatment hair smoothing or hair straightening
products. Many of these products either
contain formaldehyde as an ingredient, or contain other chemicals that release
formaldehyde gas when the product is used.
OSHA’s website (www.osha.gov) contains
information about hair products containing or releasing formaldehyde. OSHA has listed certain name- brand products
that contain or release formaldehyde gas during regular use. (See www.osha.gov/SLTC/hairsalons/formaldehyde_in_products.html ).
Nevertheless, hair salon owners still
face serious difficulties in figuring out which keratin treatment hair
smoothing or hair straightening products will not create formaldehyde exposure
issues. Checking the manufacturer’s the
product’s list of ingredients to see if it lists formaldehyde may not be enough.
Formaldehyde is an organic chemical
which is known by many other chemical names and some of these chemical names
may be listed instead as ingredients.
Therefore, the salon owner also needs to know what other chemical names
correspond to formaldehyde. They also
need to know which other chemical ingredients will, during regular use, release
environmental consultants, and industrial hygienists may assist owners and
operators of hair salons in complying with OSHA requirements, and defending
against OSHA violations or citations, through the development of employee
hazard communication programs and employee health and safety programs which
cover all of the hair products which they purchase and use.