Ann Work Expo Health. 2022 Nov 24:wxac078. doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxac078. Online ahead of print.
Working as a professional hairdresser involves the daily usage of many different hair treatment products containing chemicals in complex mixtures. Exposure may induce symptoms in the airways and on the skin. In this study, exposure of hairdressers to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including aldehydes, was measured in the personal breathing zone in the spring of 2017. The study included 30 hairdressers evenly distributed over ten hair salons in the town of Örebro, Sweden. Work tasks and indoor climate were also surveilled. A hazard index (HI) based on chronic reference values for health was calculated to indicate combined exposure risk. In total, 90 VOCs, including nine aldehydes, were identified. Individual exposure expressed as a total concentration of VOCs (TVOCs) were in the range of 50-3600 µg/m3 toluene equivalent (median 460 µg/m3) and the HI was in the range 0.0046-13 (median 0.9). Exposure was more strongly influenced by variability among hairdressers than among salons. The HI indicated an increased risk of non-carcinogenic effects (HI ≥ 1) at four of the 10 hair salons. Individual working procedures, ventilation, volumetric usage of hair treatment products, certain chemicals in products (formaldehyde, isopropanol, and 2,4- and 2,6-toluene diisocyanate), and availability of reference values may have affected estimates of exposure risks. Nevertheless, the HI may be suitable as a screening tool to assess potential exposure risk posed to hairdressers since it considers the complexity of chemical mixtures and the chronic component of VOC exposure occurring in all indoor environments.
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