California lawmakers are holding hearings to explore the options for protecting beauty salon workers from over-exposure to hazardous chemicals, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The hazardous chemicals? Beauty products themselves.
We think of exposure to hazardous chemicals as something that happens in poorly policed factories, or at decades-old hazardous waste sites, but toxic substances are all around us. Indoor air is often more polluted than the air outside, and that is certainly the case in many beauty salons, where nail polish removers and other solvents and chemicals fill the air with noxious gases.
A visit to the salon is probably not anything to worry about, but exposure over the course of a work week, for years on end, certainly is. California's right to take a look at protecting workers in any way possible. The larger question that begs to be asked: How did we get to the point where we're putting hazardous chemicals into cosmetics in the first place?
The answer isn't pretty. But there are alternatives and ways to avoid the most toxic stuff. A good place to start is the Skin Deep database, compiled by the Environmental Working Group.