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Am J Public Health. 2011 Dec;101 Suppl 1:S271-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2010.300099. Epub 2011 May 6.

Characterizing workplace exposures in Vietnamese women working in California nail salons.

Author information

1
Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA. thu.quach@cpic.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We engaged Vietnamese nail salon workers in a community-based participatory research (CBPR) study to measure personal and area concentrations of solvents in their workplace.

METHODS:

We measured average work-shift concentrations of toluene, ethyl acetate, and isopropyl acetate among 80 workers from 20 salons using personal air monitors. We also collected area samples from 3 salons using summa canisters.

RESULTS:

For personal measurements, the arithmetic mean was 0.53 parts per million (range = 0.02-5.50) for ethyl acetate, 0.04 parts per million (range = 0.02-0.15) for isopropyl acetate, and 0.15 parts per million (range = 0.02-1.0) for toluene. Area measurements were lower in comparison, but we detected notable levels of methyl methacrylate, a compound long banned from nail products. Predictors of solvent levels included different forms of ventilation and whether the salon was located in an enclosed building.

CONCLUSIONS:

Using a CBPR approach that engaged community members in the research process contributed to the successful recruitment of salon workers. Measured levels of toluene, methyl methacrylate, and total volatile organic compounds were higher than recommended guidelines to prevent health symptoms such as headaches, irritations, and breathing problems, which were frequently reported in this workforce.

PMID:
21551383
PMCID:
PMC3222474
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2010.300099
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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