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New York Takes Measures to Protect Workers from Dangerous Chemicals Found in Nail Products

June 9, 2015

It is no secret that nail products contain dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde, acetone, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene. These chemicals have been linked to respiratory illnesses, birth defects, and cancer. While the risk of exposure to these chemicals has been well documented, little has been done to protect workers that are constantly exposed to these chemicals while working inside of nail salons.

All of that is about to change. According to an article recently published in the New York Times, Governor Cuomo has taken a stand in protecting nail salon workers from wage theft and from the hazards of working inside a salon where exposure to harmful chemicals poses a serious health risk.

A recent investigation of nail salons by the New York Times indicated that a number of New York area manicurists are suffering from illnesses caused by their exposure to dangerous chemicals commonly found in nail products. Currently, the government does not mandate regulations for the ingredients in nail polishes, removers, or acrylic nail products or have any regulations in place regarding salon ventilation. There is also no federal legislation mandating that salon employees wear protective gear such as face masks or gloves while handling products containing these dangerous chemicals.

Governor Cuomo has established a special task force that will investigate salons and develop policies to protect nail salon workers. Salon employees in New York will now be required to wear masks and salons must have adequate ventilation in order to reduce the amount of airborne chemicals. Manicurists must also now wear gloves in order to protect themselves from burns sustained from handling nail products containing dangerous chemicals.

While New York is at the forefront in taking measures to enforce governmental regulation of air quality inside of nail salons, it is anticipated that many other states will soon follow suit. State legislators across the country are expected to start implementing policies regarding exposure to dangerous chemicals inside of nail salons for both salon employees and customers.