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Nail salon employees face risks from chemicals used

Minnesota residents may not realize the risk certain individuals in the cosmetics industry face as attempts at regulating some of the chemicals used in nail salons have not succeeded. Some reports show that the harmful chemicals used could lead to miscarriages, asthma, cancer and respiratory diseases.

While federal legislation enacted in 1938 bans the use of harmful chemicals in cosmetics, it might be difficult to identify a chemical as harmful since the law does not require companies to test the effects of chemicals. U.S. Food and Drug Administration preapproval for these chemicals is not required either, and manufacturers do not need to share safety information with the FDA. This gives the cosmetics industry leeway when introducing new chemicals.

Formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl are three of at least 12 chemicals that can cause health issues for salon workers, and the United States still allows the use of these chemicals while other countries have banned these chemicals or require the use of warning labels. New York Gov. Cuomo has issued emergency rules that require workers to wear masks and gloves, and samples taken from some salons could result in subpoenas if a toxin is found in products labeled without toxins.

With more focus on the dangers salon workers face, lawsuits may arise from multiple parties. In some cases, product liability laws may allow for more than one defendant. In addition to manufacturers, retailers or wholesale distributors may also be involved in suits. In addition to seeking damages from these parties, affected salon workers might wish to pursue workers' compensation benefits should they contract an illness stemming from the toxic exposure. As the symptoms from such an illness make take some time to appear, the assistance of a workers' compensation attorney may be advisable in the preparation and submission of a claim.

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