European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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22 June 2018

HesaMag n°17: All that glitters is not gold: the dark side of the beauty industry

The latest issue of HesaMag, the ETUI periodical dealing with occupational safety and health, investigates the working conditions in the beauty industry. Because they contribute to our wellbeing, beauty professionals are rarely seen as workers who face health and safety risks. And yet, those who take care of the body of others pay the price with their personal health.

There are extremely few of these beauty workers who do not suffer from musculoskeletal problems. Daily use of cosmetic products containing chemical substances that are allergenic or irritate the skin causes other health problems.

The issue is particularly severe in manicuring services. In recent years the trend for artificial nails has spread throughout industrialised countries. Cheap nail salons have literally taken over some parts of large cities. These salons use toxic chemicals, especially solvents.

Europe’s response to these threats to the health of tens of thousands of workers is unsatisfactory. The European Commission is strongly opposed to turn into law a framework agreement the European social partners concluded in order to improve safety and health protection in the hairdressing sector. In addition, the European legislation that regulates the marketing of cosmetic products primarily protects consumers rather than the professionals who work with them for at least 30 hours a week.

 All the articles published in the 17th issue of the HesaMag are downloadable in PDF here.

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