Have you or a loved one ever walked into a nail salon, and immediately noticed a strong smell of chemicals? Nail technicians are routinely exposed to many hazardous chemicals for long intervals of time. Chemicals used in nail salon services are known to contain carcinogens, reproductive toxins, asthmagens, acute skin and respiratory irritants that could lead to adverse health conditions. While customers are not exposed to the chemicals for as long, there is still cause for concern for those who visit nail salons often.
As a result of rising health impacts experienced by nail technicians and health concerns for customers, San Mateo County has joined Alameda and San Francisco Counties in a regional movement to help improve the indoor air quality of nail salons. Salons that become certified by the County, and customers that frequent certified salons, will contribute to a healthier environment. These certified salons are members in the new Healthy Nail Salon program, and display the logo shown above so customers can easily recognize them.
To be certified as a Healthy Nail Salon, a facility must use safer practices and products. Safer practices include use of protective gloves and masks while working with thinners, removers, and applying artificial nails, and designating a well-ventilated area (or installing a ventilation unit) to apply artificial nails. Using safer products includes using nail polishes without Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate, and Formaldehyde (known as the “toxic trio”), using nail polish thinners without Toluene and Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK), using nail polish removers without Ethyl Acetate and Butyl Acetate, and using artificial nails without Methyl Methacrylate. Entirely avoiding acrylic nail applications is also required.
You can help by supporting Healthy Nail Salons, or tell your salon about the program. If your salon is not in the program, you can still bring your own non-toxic products to your salon and make them aware of the products. They may not be aware of the products and practices, and you can let them know of the certification program. For more information, go to http://smchealth.org/healthynails