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Nail salons must clean up toxic act

Toxic chemicals in nail salon products in South LA, environs threaten health of clients with cancer, allergies, respiratory, neurological and reproductive harm  The Compton Herald is standing behind Assemblymember David Chiu’s (D-San Francisco) bill, AB 2125,

Toxic chemicals in nail salon products in South LA, environs threaten health of clients with cancer, allergies, respiratory, neurological and reproductive harm

 The Compton Herald is standing behind Assemblymember David Chiu’s (D-San Francisco) bill, AB 2125, signed into law this month, encouraging nail salons to switch to healthy manicure products minus health-threatening toxic chemicals.

Embedded in The Nail Salon Recognition Program, salons voluntarily opting to participate in protecting the health of California’s nail salon workers and their clients would be designated healthy nail salons to consumers. The program signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, goes into effect in January 2017.

Participating salons, currently estimated at 100 statewide, get a certificate or sticker to put in their window, and their names get added to the county website to distinguish them from the salon next door.

Just four of the state’s 58 counties have been voluntarily participating in a healthy nail salon program: San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. The city of Santa Monica in Los Angeles County also participates in the program, but no other cities in the sprawling County, where a glut of nail salons operate in South L.A., Compton, and environs.

According to Catherine Porter, policy director of California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative (HNSC), her agency has been at the forefront of efforts to get nail salons to move away from products that are harmful to workers and their customers.

There are more than 312,000 cosmetologists licensed to provide hair and nail services in California, of whom 129,000 are manicurists. Most of the nail salon workers in California are women from the Vietnamese community, working in some 50,000 salons. Nail salons are part of an $8 billion industry, much of it targeted to Black and Brown females, who crowd these salons every week subjecting themselves to toxic chemicals contained in solvents, glues, and polishes, products like dibutylphthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, and toluene, a harmful “toxic trio” known or suspected to cause cancer, allergies, respiratory, neurological, and reproductive harm, according to a media advisory from HNSC.

DPH was recently banned in Australia after it was determined to contain harmful toxins. In 2011, the National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, labeled formaldehyde a human carcinogen. Toluene, a type of solvent that helps polish glide on smoothly, could impair cognitive and kidney function, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Chiu’s bill requires product manufacturers to provide distributors with so-called ingredient information safety data sheets, which will be made available to salons. The “toxic trio,” as well as a few other chemicals deemed harmful should not be in any of the products, said the HNSC’s Porter.

The Compton Herald suggests that nail salons should also offer patrons the use of masks that cover the nose and mouth to help mitigate the deleterious effects of solvents, glues, and polishes by salons that choose not to participate in The Nail Salon Recognition Program.

Nail salons that refuse to participate should be required to post “Warning Notices” alerting patrons to the dangers of toxic products used at non-compliant salons.

 

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

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