Nail Professional Breathing Zone Protection – A Closer Look

Protection from respirable dust particles, which are invisible because of their very small size (less than 3 microns), should be the focal point of preventing nail dust inhalation exposure. These microscopic dust particles, which can stay suspended and float around in the salon air for up to 10 hours,  create the greatest health risk. Additionally, the larger chemical laden dust particles often end up on the manicure table top, where the NT’s forearms rest all day. Prolonged and repeated nail dust skin contact can cause contact dermatitis issues. Proper ventilation & good application technique will also lower incidence rates of contact dermatitis.

(This video illustrates how long microscopic dust remains in the room air)

(For effective source capture ventilation, a large filter with a sufficient amount of activated carbon is necessary)


When it comes to preventing inhalation exposure to chemical vapors, many so called Nail Source Capture Systems provide nail professionals with little if any breathing zone protection. The “old style” downdraft method allow chemical vapors to escape into the breathing zone, and migrate into the salon air. The most effective systems include a filter with a sufficient amount of activated carbon, (i.e. 2 lbs.), and utilize a positional extractor arm & capture hood. This method  allows the nail pro to manage where the hood is placed to control & minimize nail product inhalation exposure.

(Downdraft tables are not as effective as source capture points positioned over or adjacent to the work space.  They are also difficult and messy to clean)


(An example of a highly effective source capture system that removes nail dust and vapors with powerful suction, a high capacity dust filter and high grade activated carbon.  This model features eHEPA®  technology that also destroys microbial threats and has a built in LED light)

Some nail product vapors have little or no appreciable odor, but still can pose an inhalation exposure hazard.  Don’t ventilate to control odors; ventilate to control vapors and dusts. It’s especially important to control the air quality of your breathing zone.

Guidelines for Controlling and Minimizing Inhalation Exposure to Nail Products