Healthy Salon Initiative: Assessing Indoor Air Quality in The City of Minneapolis

Healthy Salon Initiative: Assessing Indoor Air Quality in The City of Minneapolis

Cosmetology salons are a popular destination for those seeking manicures, pedicures, haircuts, hair coloring, massages, and other beauty treatments. While these treatments are supposed to make us feel good, some don’t realize that many of them can also pose certain health risks. To help ensure employees and occupants have less exposure to harmful chemicals associated with this industry, it is important for salons to deploy continuous monitoring solutions to properly manage the indoor air quality (IAQ) within their space.

The City of Minneapolis Health Department understands the importance of IAQ monitoring when it comes to reducing workers exposure to indoor pollution. Senior Environmental Research Analyst Jennifer Lansing and team have been evaluating a number of salons throughout the city focusing on local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system effectiveness when it comes to reducing certain IAQ related health risks for employees and customers. Using TSI’s AirAssure™ Continuous IAQ Monitors connected to cloud-based TSI Link™ software, the city of Minneapolis Health Department was be able to assess the effectiveness of their current ventilation and filtration systems that are in place today to ensure a safe and comfortable environment.

“For our project, we selected TSI solutions because through their IAQ monitors we could receive all data in real-time to help adjust how each salon operates. In addition, TSI is a local company committed to protect people and environments and we give value to this as the City of Minneapolis” – said Jennifer Lansing, Senior Environmental Research Analyst.

To mitigate the risks associated with indoor air pollution within their space, salons should be monitoring their IAQ on a regular basis. A proper working ventilation system is essential to ensure air is adequately exchanged and pollutants are removed. Through a grant, the Minneapolis Health Department installed LEV systems in 9 salons in Minneapolis.

In order for Minneapolis Health Department staff to determine if the LEV systems are properly and optimally functioning, they are using TSI IAQ solutions and reporting tools to assist in determining a plan of action for optimal clean air.

The AirAssure™ continuous IAQ monitors deployed within the salons had proven through data shown on their TSI Link™ dashboard that particulate matter (PM) levels during these treatments were in general, within a healthy range and in accordance to the LEV systems recommended settings. However, what was determined through data analysis was that most salons were not using the LEV systems correctly. If a LEV system was running at a lower setting than recommended, those PM levels showed higher than desirable. Many stylists were operating their LEV systems at lower settings because of the loud sound they emit while turned on and running, resulting in difficulty hearing customers in conversation and infringing on the social environmental aspects of salons.

Other findings while monitoring the IAQ data was that during off-hours when some salons were closed and unoccupied, unusually high PM readings were detected in their data. Upon investigation, at one salon was discovered that employees were working after hours completing acrylic nail work in preparation for clients the next day. The employees were not using the LEV system at that time because they were not working directly with clients. At that same salon, it was determined that a scented air filter in the ventilation system was responsible for spikes in readings, exacerbating the levels of formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). While the initial focus for this work was on nail services, data from several of the salons that also perform hair treatments showed spikes in PM readings during certain services. By continuously monitoring your IAQ, you can identify and address potential sources of these pollutants, ensuring a safer and more comfortable indoor environment.

Cloud-based TSI Link™ software paired with AirAssure Continuous IAQ Monitors provided a complete solution in helping guide the Minneapolis Health Department and the salon owners to take the right steps toward reducing health risks for employees and customers, providing them with accurate data to prove the building’s ventilation effectiveness.

 “TSI Link SaaS platform is very user-friendly and simple to navigate. Thanks to the dashboard, we can quickly view levels and averages of all parameters and the team always has an IAQ overview in real-time” – Jennifer Lansing, Senior Environmental Research Analyst.

Results from continuous monitoring provide reasons as to why it is crucial for cosmetology salons, as well as other consumer services retailers, to prioritize indoor air quality monitoring and management to strive to ensure the health and safety of their customers and employees. The Minneapolis Health Department’s evaluation of salons using IAQ monitors and reporting tools was an important step towards improving the IAQ in these businesses. By utilizing TSI’s AirAssure™ Continuous IAQ Monitors and cloud-based TSI Link™ software, salon owners can assess the effectiveness of their ventilation and filtration systems and take necessary steps to help reduce health risks associated with indoor air pollution. This not only benefits the health and safety of occupants today, but can also attract and assure customers who prioritize their own safety and well-being.

Learn more about how TSI indoor air quality solutions can help you today!

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