Caution: health risks in the nail salon - you should pay attention to this

Caution: health risks in the nail salon - you should pay attention to this

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Beware of the cheap chemical methyl methacrylate

Nail salons are springing up like mushrooms. Around 60,000 studios offer their services in Germany. Business is booming and the competition is undercutting with ever cheaper offers. The catch is: No training is required to open a nail studio or to work in one. Everyone can get a certificate from the trade office and get started immediately. It is all the more important as a customer to pay attention to a few things in such shops so that nail care does not become a health risk.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) warns of a harmful chemical that is used in many nail salons. Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is an inexpensive component used in the modeling of artificial fingernails. Nail salons often use this chemical to reduce the cost of treatment. The BfR warns that MMA can trigger contact allergies and cross allergies, which can lead to serious complications in possible subsequent doctor and dentist treatments.

Life-long allergies threaten

According to the BfR, exposure to methyl methacrylate poses a risk of lifelong sensitization to MMA and an additional risk of developing cross-sensitization to other acrylate compounds. Customers of nail salons that use MMA can come into contact with this substance. Contact can occur either when applying artificial fingernails or by inhaling abrasion.

Why is a methyl methacrylate allergy dangerous?

Methyl methacrylate can also irritate the skin and respiratory tract in non-allergy sufferers. Allergic reactions can occur in sensitized persons, which can range from a burning, itchy rash and swelling, to the formation of pustules, blisters and wheals, to allergic asthma. If there is a cross allergy, sufferers are allergic to a large number of acrylate compounds. According to the BfR, this can lead to serious complications in medical treatments, because such compounds are often used in medicine, for example in:

  • ECG electrodes,
  • Insulin pumps,
  • Hearing aids,
  • Face implants containing hyaluronic acid
  • Dental implants,
  • Knee implants.

Federal Institute advises tougher measures

"Nail modeling with a high concentration of methyl methacrylate is classified as a serious health risk," writes Dr. Bettina Huhse in a statement by the BfR. The institute recommends taking appropriate measures to protect consumers, such as warnings and restricted sales only to professional users. MMA is currently freely available to everyone. In other countries such as the USA and Canada, the hazardous substances have already been banned.

Beware of pungent smell

MMA causes a pungent smell. If a nail salon smells strongly of chemicals, you should ask whether methyl methacrylate is used. With very cheap offers you should also be skeptical, because MMA is much cheaper than safe substitutes. (vb)

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