Nail salon workers aren't the only ones facing serious health problems due to working conditions -- hair stylists are also putting themselves at risk to make us look more beautiful.
Following the New York Times' investigative series uncovering the exploitation occurring in NYC nail salons, reports have revealed hairstylists are also struggling with long working hours under hazardous conditions, which may lead to long-term health risks, all for very little pay.
Alexandera Scranton, director of science and research at Women's Voices for the Earth, told HuffPost Live "up to 60 to 70 per cent of salon workers reported dermatitis on their hands and respiratory conditions like asthma and decrease in lung function," mostly due to chemical overexposure in hair salons from keratin straightening treatments, perms and bleach.
One hairstylist, Cassi Hurd, told HuffPost Live she often experiences "coughing attacks" when she mixes hair colour or bleach. She also touched on the electrical hazards and poor working conditions she faced from working as an independent contractor.
"When you do production hairstyles, sometimes they're sticking you in warehouses that have maybe or maybe not been approved to have people working in them at all," she said. "It's not always the most professional or proper spot for that."
And to make matters worse, ThinkProgress reported that hairdressers are more likely to die from Alzheimer's disease, presenile dementia and motor neuron disease. Plus, women working in hair salons are also more likely to have miscarriages or children with cleft palates.
Another concerning revelation is that African-American hairdressers are most at risk, as many treatments include working with harsh chemicals. Teni Adewumi, an environmental justice research coordinator for Black Women for Wellness, revealed findings from an upcoming report showing that stylists suffer from higher risks of certain types of cancer, immune disorders, uterine fibroids and even miscarriages.
"My friends 20 years in the industry, girl, my friends don't have fingerprints anymore . . . my friends can't go to the [RTA] and put the hand down and have fingerprints anymore," one participant said (in a focus group session held in 2014), according to Black Women for Wellness.
And hairdressers aren't the only ones at risk -- we, the clients, are as well. Even if you choose not to use bleach, ammonia and formaldehyde on your hair, these dangerous toxins are lingering in the air at salons. Here's hoping these reports will help spark safer regulations in the beauty industry.
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