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Environmental Testing Laboratory

Category Press Release
Publish Date 7/1/2019
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Toluene and Efforts by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to Regulate Exposure from Nail Products
Introduction LA Testing offers consumer product, environmental and industrial hygiene testing services to identify toluene and other potential chemical exposure risks.

Huntington Beach, CA, July 1st, 2019

Earlier this year the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced it was taking steps to promote safer alternatives to a toxic chemical found in nail products. The chemical receiving this attention is toluene, described by the agency as a danger to nail salon workers and their customers.

Toluene (C7H8) is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that is widely used in a number of industrial processes and can be found in numerous products. These include various paints, paint thinners, fingernail polish, spot removers, lacquers, adhesives, rubber and antifreeze.

Specifically addressed in the DTSC announcement are the 130,000 nail salon workers in California. The agency wrote:

Toluene is a solvent that can be harmful to people who breathe in its fumes. Extended exposure has been linked to nervous system damage and harm to the respiratory tract. Exposure in the workplace has also been associated with developmental effects, such as increased risk of low birthweight. Nail salon workers are particularly at risk because they may be exposed to the chemical from multiple products over long work hours - sometimes in small, poorly ventilated workspaces. Studies show that toluene has been detected in salons at levels above California regulatory standards.

“All the way back in 1991, toluene was added to California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to the state to cause developmental toxicity,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “We will have to see if the DTSC is successful in their efforts to list nail products containing toluene as a Priority Product under its Safer Consumer Products program. It’s also important to remember that there are workers in other occupations that could also be exposed to elevated levels of this chemical in the air they breathe that also need to be protected.”

The scientists at LA Testing offer toluene and other chemical testing services for consumer products in air and other environmental samples. They have even sponsored an educational video about toluene exposure risks that can be seen at:

To learn more about toluene or other industrial hygiene, occupational, environmental or air quality testing services, please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794.

About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro and San Diego.

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