In cities across the country, nail salons dot the landscape, promising patrons perfectly manicured and polished fingernails and toenails. Manicures and pedicures are often credited with helping people both look and feel better. During 2013, according to Nails Magazine, the lucrative nail services industry enjoyed “record-breaking growth” of $7.47 billion.
While most people likely wouldn’t consider the occupation of a nail salon technician to be dangerous, a wealth of research and firsthand accounts prove otherwise. Exposed to a variety of hazardous and toxic chemicals on a daily basis, the women and men who work in nail salons are prone to suffer infertility problems, lung problems and skin conditions.
Largely unregulated by the Federal Drug Association, when they are inhaled or come into contact with an individual’s skin, the ingredients found in many nail polishes and products can be dangerous. This is particularly true in cases of nail technicians who spend several hours each day breathing in acrylic dust and handling a variety of solvents, glues and chemicals.
Women who work as nail salon technicians often share common fertility problems, many reporting experiencing multiple miscarriages. Those who do carry a baby to full term, often report children who suffer from physical and developmental delays. Despite these types of reported incidences, the nail industry has largely failed to admit that the products to which technicians are exposed on a daily basis are dangerous. Without this acknowledgement, most nail salon owners fail to take measures to protect workers.
Nail technicians or other employees who work in the beauty industry may suffer numerous health problems as a direct result of their occupations. While advocacy groups like the California Health Nail Salon Collaborative continue to push for additional regulations and protections for nail salon workers, barring federal action, it’s likely these workers will continue to suffer occupational diseases and injuries.
Source: The New York Times, “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers,” Sarah Maslin Nir, May 8, 2015