With the recent issues that arose regarding hazardous chemical exposures of nail salon workers, legal battles were initiated and headed by people with much concern for community health. To participate in this legal war, some lobbyists give away lipsticks and other beauty products to prevent banning of an industrial compound used as material for enhancing manicure and pedicures.
As a result, people who approve of this ban lost the legal battle, proving the difficulty that arises from fighting an industry that earned an estimated $62 billion in 2016.
This disappointing legal battle led to the formation of campaign organized by salon workers, health workers, and local officials in California. Currently, the group is gaining more support from the US Environmental Protection Agency and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
The group aims at voicing out concerns of the community and to show to the people what is really happening in the beauty industry and its possible effects on people’s health. Members of this group claimed that in the past, a number of nail-salon workers suffered from cancer, headaches, miscarriages, and other health conditions.
From then on, the California Health Nail Salon Collaborative exerted efforts to prevent nail-salon staff from being exposed to toxicants while working. Cities and counties that support this advocacy by certifying salons that participate in banning nail materials and products that are potentially dangerous to workers. Moreover, nail-salon staff are recommended to be provided with proper ventilation, gloves, and masks.
Health complains related to working in nail salons normally involved immigrants hailing from Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea, and other Asian countries.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuoum implemented a new regulation, requiring salons to install ventilation systems and to employ certain health protocols to reduce exposure of workers to chemicals.
Meanwhile, California implements a voluntary program for salons to formulate their own salons when it comes to their operations. Salon owners and workers are also trained and advised to relay any concern that they have with their work.
Last winter, one salon celebrated its achievement in earning a local government certification for healthy salon.
Meanwhile, behind this success, some nail salon workers first suffered from various ailments because of the nature of their occupation. Still, these people used their misfortunes as inspiration to fight for the health and safety of other people currently working in the beauty industry.
On the other hand, trade groups and chemical manufacturers deny allegations surrounding suspected harmful materials. Some of these chemicals include formaldehyde and other compounds which are believed to be carcinogenic or health hazards. Meanwhile, other companies opted to remove such ingredients from their products.
Amidst all these issues, scientific evidence are still needed in order to prove which chemicals pose harmful effects to people’s health. Thus, various authorities, such as California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control, are taking actions to assess frequently questioned targets and to address people’s health concern. Assessment of these materials may lead to formulation of protocols and guidelines regarding specific chemicals and other safer alternatives.