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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Indoor Air Quality of Nail Salons in the Greater Los Angeles Area: Assessment of Chemical and Particulate Matter Exposures and Ventilation

  • Author(s): Nguyen, Charlene
  • Advisor(s): Zhu, Yifang
  • et al.

Nail salon workers face potentially high occupational risks from chemical and particulate matter exposures. Indoor and outdoor VOC (volatile organic compound), PM2.5 (particles with aerodynamic diameter <2.5 �m), and UFP (ultrafine particles, particles with aerodynamic diameter <100 nm) concentrations were measured for 4 hours simultaneously for 7 nail salons in the greater Los Angeles area. VOC concentrations were measured in an additional salon. Air exchange rates (AERs) were calculated and translated to per-person ventilation rates to assess the ventilation of the salons with respect to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) ventilation standard for acceptable indoor air quality in nail salons. VOC levels were measured below occupational exposure limits in all salons, but isopropyl alcohol and toluene concentrations exceeded environmental exposure limits in 4 and 1 salon(s), respectively. Individual and total VOC concentrations measured in this study were 4 to 6 times higher than concentrations measured in other nail salon indoor air quality studies. Formaldehyde was not detected during most salon visits. PM2.5 emissions from nail grinding and hand filing can increase exposures above EPA PM2.5 standards. Nail activities were not a source of UFP emissions. The average AER across the salons was 2.65 � 2.16 h-1. Pearson correlation and univariate statistical analyses were performed to assess occupancy, number and type of nail services, and ventilation as predictors of pollutant exposures. Occupancy, related to the number of nail services, strongly and significantly predicted VOC exposure levels. Acrylic nail, regular manicure, and pedicure services, but not gel nail services, showed significant positive correlations with total VOC concentrations. Ventilation was a weak predictor of VOC and particulate exposure levels. Furthermore, the ASHRAE ventilation standard does not ensure acceptable indoor air quality in nail salons with respect to VOC and PM exposure limits. This study demonstrates that nail salon workers in the greater Los Angeles area are exposed to high levels of VOCs, and a holistic approach to ventilation standards is needed to protect workers from harmful pollutant exposures.

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