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Identifying Formaldehyde Exposure Hazards in Hair Salons

EMSL Analytical, Inc. provides material and indoor air quality (IAQ) testing services to identify formaldehyde off-gassing from hair salon products and other materials.

Cinnaminson, NJ – WEBWIRE
EMSL Analytical, Inc. Laboratory Locations
EMSL Analytical, Inc. Laboratory Locations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as recently as 2014, there were over 650,000 jobs in the United States for hairdressers, barbers and cosmetologists. The vast majority of these jobs are in salons and barbershops.

While few people may think that working in a hair salon could be dangerous to their health, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a Hazard Alert about hair smoothing products that could release formaldehyde into the air. This was the result of OSHA and several State OSHA programs investigating questions and complaints from hair salon owners and workers about possible formaldehyde exposure from some products they use.

In response to the questions and complaints, OSHA conducted air sampling at multiple salons and found formaldehyde in the air when stylists were using certain hair smoothing products. The agency reported that some of these products were labeled “formaldehyde free” or did not list formaldehyde on the product label or in the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). In most cases where the label did not state that the product had formaldehyde in it, OSHA found that hair salon owners using those products did not know that hair smoothing products contain or could expose workers to formaldehyde because manufacturers, importers and distributors did not include the correct hazard warnings on the product labels or MSDS.

“Anytime products are used that contain formaldehyde in an enclosed environment such as a hair salon or beauty school, air levels could rise above OSHA’s permissible limits,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “This could pose health risks for workers and students. Formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing substance and exposure to formaldehyde can also cause eye irritation and damage; nose irritation; skin sensitivity, rashes and itching; and breathing difficulties.”

To identify exposure risks to formaldehyde, EMSL Analytical, Inc. offers product testing and air testing services, along with all of the sampling supplies necessary. They also recently sponsored an educational video about hair salons and formaldehyde exposure concerns that can be seen at:

To learn more about formaldehyde testing services or other material, indoor air quality, occupational and environmental services, please visit, email  or call (800) 220-3675.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations.  In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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 hair salon
 occupational health
 hair smoothing product
 air sampling

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