Do you enjoy a good pampering from your local nail salon? If so, then we’d love for you to take part in our quick Green and Clean Nail Salon Survey! Since 2007, the Boston Public Health Commission’s Safe Nail Salon Project has been working with nail salons and technicians on environmental health and safety. We are about to kick off a ‘Green & Clean’ nail salon recognition program, which will recognize salons that go above and beyond basic environmental and safety standards. You don’t have to live in Boston to participate in this short survey. However, we strictly want to hear from people who are nail salon patrons.
But what do nail salons have to do with public health? While consumers may not be conscious of the “chemical beauty burden,” if you work in the business then you are very well aware that every nail service involves the use of multiple chemicals. As described by the ‘Story of Cosmetics,’ beauty products are largely unregulated and some of them can be harmful to your health. In the absence of chemical replacement with safer alternatives, the Boston Public Health Commission’s Safe Nail Salon Project addresses improving ventilation, keeping chemicals out of indoor air, and using personal protective equipment.
In addition to working with businesses to improve working and environmental conditions, the Safe Nail Salon Project also recognizes the public health interest of protecting consumers from infections contracted in salons. For this reason, the Boston Public Health Commission has created nail salon health and safety regulations that went into effect on July 13, 2011. The regulation requires that all nail salons obtain public health permits to operate in the city of Boston and that the salons meet the necessary environmental, occupational, and sanitary conditions.
In addition, the Safe Nail Salon Project has developed an (anti-) cootie catcher with tips for the consumer on having a safe nail salon experience. These include:
• Not shaving or waxing your legs within 24 hours of getting a pedicure.
• Ask for clean single use tools (pumice stones / flip flops / toe separators) that haven’t been used on anyone else.
• Make sure that reusable (metal / non-porous) tools have been disinfected before they are used on you.
• Avoid polishes that contain the ‘Toxic Trio’ of formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate.
• Report concerns about Boston nail salons to the Boston Public Health Commission at 617-534-5965.
• Recommend that your salon participate in free Safe Nail Salon trainings (offered only in Boston).
To learn more about the Safe Nail Salon Project, you can view the Safe Nail Salon YouTube video or download the Safe Nail Salon training in Vietnamese or English.