Are there contaminants in human nail dust?


I’m guilty.  I’m guilty of purchasing items based on price without consideration of anything else. After all, if I can’t afford it, I shouldn’t buy it right?


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Being a small Business owner and at one time a single parent, I understand the struggles of trying to grow a Business on limited funds.  It’s NOT easy. However, as I grow older (and wiser) and I either see or feel what cutting corners has done in my personal and my professional life, I realize “settling” is not always best.

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One of the conversations I have on a regular basis regards e-files. The question I’m most often asked is “is it worth spending almost $3000.00 for an e-file when I can get one for $150.00”

This is a GREAT, legitimate question. $3000.00 is a lot of money. And, in most cases, the same job can be done whether you send $150.00 or $3000.00.

The question then becomes why????

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Before I answer that question, let me share with you some information I received from the “Journal of Foot and Ankle Research”. This information was specifically regarding Podiatrist. However, our work on the toenails and skin relate 100% to this article.

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The health risk from exposure to human nail dust has shown that large amounts of dust become airborne during the human nail drilling process.  These dust particles are present in the air up to 10 hours after a service.

This can increase the risk of (RT) – Respiratory Tract infection.

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Through a study of nasal swabbing and fungal cultures, it has been shown a range of microbes in nasal cavities had a greater overall number of organisms. Aspergillus fumigates (common mold) was the most commonly found fungus.

Interestingly enough, in this test most of the time dust extractions were used on their e-files. However, mask were not used and if they were they found they were not being changed between clients furthering the increase of cross infection.

Reports show, Aspergilus has been shown to cause brain and soft tissue tumors (in extreme cases).

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Other common ailments in relation to nail dust being airborne are; asthma, conjunctivitis, rhinitis and eczema.

When filing a “possible” fungal nail, yeast and bacterial organisms such as Candida, Aspergillus, Fusarium and Staphylococcus aureus are known to cause serious diseases once (if) they enter the body.  Fatigue, muscle/joint problems including the above aforementioned.

You can read the article in detail @

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The reason I share this information with you is not only to recommend you think twice about the tools your purchase for your career….also

  1. If working with feet, a vacuum is hugely important with your e-file
  2. You should also consider having a water spray unit on your handle to eliminate dust particles going airborne
  3. Wear a mask. Be sure to wear a new one for each client
  4. Gloves are a must
  5. A dust air purifier should also be on your list of things to invest in

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However, this article goes way beyond just our tools and safety precautions.

We need to seriously think about staying within the limits of our license. We need to make sure we are not putting our clients at risk, but ourselves as well.

Filing a healthy toenail compared to filing a toenail which is indicative of a fungal disease has far more repercussions. We need to stay educated on this topic and know….when too say no!

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When do you say NO? Anytime you are unsure…..end of story!

In the old days, when an at risk client came in…..we sent them away. We don’t have to do that anymore.

Now, we have products which, we can recommend to them for at home care. Suggest these products like our LCN Mykosept or Footlogix Nail Tincture. Show them how to use it, how often and share with them when they should start seeing results. Only when the nail has grown out, or you have clearance from a Medical Professional should you attempt any type of filing on the nails.

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The bottom line is this;

  • Be kind to yourself. Don’t shave $$$ on tools of your trade
  • Be educated. Know when and how to say no
  • Be smart. Stay within the limits of your license

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2 thoughts on “Are there contaminants in human nail dust?”

    1. Linda, I still have to do some research on that one, as I’ve gotten a couple of calls. I have the one with the light on the hand piece and the vacuum. I’ll keep you all posted.

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