Working Healthy

You Are Now Entering the Breathing Zone: Salon Ventilation Guide

The invisible beachball-sized sphere of air that surrounds your face in all directions is a great place to start implementing efficient salon ventilation. NAILS walks you through all of the things you need to know, from what to look for in a ventilation system to how the components work to a few tweaks you can make in your day-to-day habits for extra protection. Get ready to breathe easy.

The Ideal Ventilation System

Setting aside for a moment money, space, and other concerns, what does the ideal nail salon ventilation set-up look like? It’s a three-part system that takes into account the breathing zone, the entire room, and the entire building in which the salon is housed.

Area Ideal Ventilation What It Does Additional Considerations
breathing zone

source-capture ventilation

...with arm

...or built into manicure table


 > Pulls dust and vapors away from the nail tech and into a filter before she breathes them in.
> Uses the adsorption powers of several inches of activated carbon for vapors.
> Uses a separate filter to
trap dust.
> May use a third stage filter for additional contaminant removal.

If your salon primarily does:
Acrylics: Vapors from acrylic monomer and acetone are your main concerns. Get a source-capture system with ­several inches of activated carbon.
Gels: Dust from filing off gels is your main concern. A filter that removes particles down to the micron level is ideal.
Natural nails: Vapors from acetone and polish are your main concern. The go-to is the same choice as for acrylic-dominant salons: a system with several inches of activated carbon.
All of the above: Get one with several inches of activated carbon. Confirm with the manufacturer that it also has a dust filter in place.

an air purifier specifically designed for nail salons

Several inches of activated carbon adsorbs vapors, due
in part to its many small,
low volume pores.

 > Because source capture is not 100% effective, a whole salon room air purifier is also necessary.
> A salon air purifier is also a good choice for a product storage room
joined rooms/entire building

HVAC with a special salon filter

 > Increased dust holding capacity compared to a residential HVAC filter.
> Includes activated carbon panels to remove residual vapors (much less activated carbon than in the source-capture system because by this point, most of the vapors should already be trapped by the breathing zone and  room capture systems).
The salon filter can generally
be retrofitted into your existing HVAC system, replacing the existing filter.



Inside a Source-Capture Ventilation System

A source-capture system at your station is your first line of protection. Using the Salon Pure Air’s Spa 1 (left) and Spa 2 (right) systems as examples, here are the typical components. On the left is a system for salons that primarily do acrylics or natural nails. On the right is a system for salons that primarily do UV gels:

Next page: Masks, opening windows, and more...

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