Navigating Indoor Air Quality Policy and Ventilation Code for Nail Salons

source capture system
Photo provided by Jon Currey & Lorri Ducharme, Safe Salon advocates & owners of Prestige Salon Nails & Pedicures, Dudley, MA
We all know that navigating any regulation or policy can sometimes be complicated, daunting, and downright frustrating. This is especially true when regulations change or are different depending in what area you live and work. When it comes to nail salon air quality, the situation is no different, but it’s not insurmountable! For example, there is a lot of talk about what is required when it comes to nail salon ventilation for new and renovated salons. These requirements are dictated by something called the International Mechanical Code (IMC). This code is revised every three years, and is constantly evolving. The most recent version of the code (2015) includes a specific requirement pertaining to something called source capture ventilation, in addition to minimum ventilation rates and other general mechanical ventilation requirements for nail salons. It reads:
  • For each manicure and pedicure station, “a source capture system capable of exhausting not less than 50 cfm [cubic feet per minute] per station.”  (IMC Table 403.3.1.1, note h.)  A source capture system is: “A mechanical exhaust system designed and constructed to capture air contaminants at their source and to exhaust such contaminants to the outdoor atmosphere.” (IMC 202.)
  • “Manicure tables and pedicure stations not provided with factory-installed exhaust inlets shall be provided with exhaust inlets located not more than 12 inches…horizontally and vertically from the point of chemical application.” (IMC 502.20.)
Ok, so that is all well and good, but what is a source capture system?  To put it simply, a source capture system is a device that removes and captures VOCs, dust and other contaminants from the breathing zone of the nail professional and their clients. By removing and capturing these harmful contaminants before they can be inhaled, these systems are highly effective at preventing inhalation overexposure to nail products, and improving the respiratory health of nail salon workers. Source Capture Ventilation is now an important requirement for newly opening salons or salons that are going to renovate:  The International Mechanical Codes states the source capture system(s) must vent to the exterior of the salon, or as the code writers put it, “designed and constructed to capture air contaminants at their source and to exhaust such contaminants to the outdoor atmosphere“.  What this means is that the source capture systems must be able to connect to duct work that directs the exhaust to the outside of the building, and not recirculate back into the salon.  All HealthyAir source capture systems meet this part of the code with the use of an outside vent adapter, as well as the airflow requirements of at least 50 CFM (cubic feet per minute) or airflow per manicure and pedicure station. In addition, these units also place the exhaust inlets within 12 inches, horizontally and vertically, of the chemical application per the code requirement. So that is the long and short of it when it comes to source capture ventilation for new salons and salons that want to renovate! With the correct systems and consultation from Aerovex, meeting ventilation code doesn’t have to be a headache. To gain a better understanding of the evolving air quality requirements for nail salons, policy and codes, read this helpful article from the Environmental Law Institute, entitled, “Indoor Air Quality in Nail Salons – Developments in State Policy”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart