Environmental Injustices

The toxins that are found in beauty products bring up issues of environmental justice. Many of the people who work in the beauty industry are constantly exposed to harmful chemicals and at a higher concentration. For example, nail salon workers are exposed to a large number of toxic chemicals at levels that remain unreported. In nail salons there is not a huge use of gloves to help protect against irritants (White et al.). Additionally 20% of the workers reported nose irritations and allergies (White et al.). One area where workers had high reports of poor health was when working with acrylic nails (White et al.). Nail salons are areas that bring up issues of environmental justice because a large number of people who work in nail salons are immigrants and minorities and they are unfairly and unequally exposed to these harmful chemicals.

Cosmetologist Workplace. Source: Flickr

Another example of environmental injustice can be seen in cosmetologists. Cosmetologists may be exposed to a number of toxins such as volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, ozone and carbon dioxide in their workplaces (Tsigonia et al.). The exposure to these toxins could be decreased by following practices such as good ventilation, however, not all of the workplaces follow these practices (Tsigonia et al.). People employed in this industry therefore will be predisposed to exposure to these toxins and will see greater effects on their health than others.

Environmental Injustice happens within communities as well, an example is the inequality of enforcement on facilities in lower-income or minority communities, leading to more pollution in these areas (Konisky et al. 8). This also occurs with drinking water, which can lead to serious health concerns if there are unhealthy levels of toxins (Schaider et al. 2). While toxins in drinking water can come from a large variety of places, one of the common places is from microplastics in beauty products (see Toxins in the Environment). In relation to greenwashing, environmental justice occurs due to the discrepancy in prices between “eco-friendly” and “normal” products, as can be seen with beauty products (Center 2018).

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To learn more, check out related topics: Homepage, Toxins in the EnvironmentToxins in Human Health“Green” Beauty Products