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Monica Kåredal


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Characterization of Hairdresser Exposure to Airborne Particles during Hair Bleaching.


  • Patrik Nilsson
  • Sara Marini
  • Aneta Wierzbicka
  • Monica Kåredal
  • Eva Blomgren
  • Jörn Nielsen
  • Giorgio Buonanno
  • Anders Gudmundsson

Summary, in English

Respiratory symptoms among hairdressers are often ascribed to the use of bleaching powders that contain persulfate salts. Such salts can act as allergens and airway irritants but the mechanisms behind the negative health effects are not fully known. In order to understand why some hairdressers experience respiratory symptoms during, and after, sessions of hair bleaching, it is of importance to characterize how exposure occurs. In this work we used time and particle size resolved instrumentation with the aim to measure the concentration of particles that hairdressers are exposed to during sessions of hair bleaching. We also used filter samples to collect particles for quantitative determination of persulfate (S2O8 (2-)) content and for analysis by light microscopy. Two different types of bleaching powders were used, one marked as dust-free and one without this marking (denoted regular). The time resolved instrumentation revealed that particles <10 µm were emitted, specifically when the regular powder was prepared and mixed with hydrogen peroxide. In contrast to other research our work also revealed that supercoarse particles (>10 µm) were emitted during application of the bleaching, when both the regular and the dust-free powders were used. The measured level of persulfate, sampled in the breathing zone of the hairdressers, was on average 26 µg m(-3) when the regular powder was used and 11 µg m(-3) when the dust-free powder was used. This indicates that use of dust-free powder does not eliminate exposure to persulfates, it only lowers the concentration. We show that the site of sampling, or position of the hairdresser with regards to the hair being bleached, is of high importance in the determination of persulfate levels and exposure. This work focuses on the physical and chemical characterization of the particles released to the air and the results are important for accurate exposure assessments. Accurate assessments may in turn lead to a better understanding of why some hairdressers experience respiratory symptoms from hair bleaching sessions.


  • Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology
  • Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University
  • Applied Mass Spectrometry in Environmental Medicine

Publishing year







Annals of Occupational Hygiene





Document type

Journal article


Oxford University Press


  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health



Research group

  • Applied Mass Spectrometry in Environmental Medicine


  • ISSN: 1475-3162