The Scary Truth Behind NYC Nail Salons

BeverlyHills-Nails&More-8_PheobeChuasonPhotographed by Phoebe Chuason.
UPDATE: Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has proposed legislation that would force salons to adopt a letter-grading system similar to that of restaurants and bars. As he explained to the New York Daily News, the new system would instill a "five-borough system where we can give comfort to the consumer that the establishment they're walking into is one that is safe; one where you speak of hygienics, it's a place where they don’t worry about getting hepatitis, fungus, staph infections." It would also require salons to post a "customer bill of rights" that would highlight requirements for sanitation and ventilation, two current issues majorly compromising the safety and conditions of New York City nail spots.

This story was originally published on September 17:
We're the first to admit that there's nothing better than a manicure and pedicure at the end of a long week. But, more often than not, we're so wrapped up in reading celebrity gossip and chatting away with our technician-turned-therapist, that we overlook our surroundings. And, that might actually be a huge problem.

Although the City of New York is reportedly "not responsible for inspecting salons for cleanliness and safety," on Tuesday, Public Advocate Letitia James released a report titled "How Safe is Your Nail Salon?" which examined the conditions of our beloved R&R havens. With over 2,000 salons in NYC employing an estimated 13, 100 technicians, concern for both customers and staff members has hit an all-time high.
James cites lawsuits filed by customers who have contracted hepatitis and staph infections from a seemingly harmless hour or so of pampering, as well as the concern of exposure to the "toxic trio" — toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate — as the basis for her research. (The latter, which are found in many nail products, can cause reproductive issues and cancer.) She found problems plaguing salons in NYC and across the country. Here are some of the most haunting discoveries:
- Between 2008 and 2012, 56% of the city's salons were in violation of health and safety regulations.
- 75% of salons nationwide don't follow the established rules for disinfecting equipment.
- According to the report, there's "little to no regulation on the manufacturing of these nail lamps," which means drying your manicure could be just as bad as hitting the tanning bed.
- 89% of the chemicals found in everyday nail products have not been tested for safety.
Looks like choosing between Essie and OPI is no longer our biggest dilemma. Is it time we start asking for more stringent regulations with our 10-minute massages? (New York Observer)

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