Public Health Permits For Nail Salons

That mani-pedi can pose a health risk for both people involved. Possible fungus or bacteria for the salon client. Possible ill effects from fumes for the salon worker.

The Globe's inimitable Steve Smith called attention to the health hazards of nail salons in this story three years ago, and today the Boston Public Health Commission announced that it will hold a public hearing on Nov. 29 on proposed new rules that would set safety, cleanliness and sanitation requirements for the hundreds of nail salons in Boston. The commission says:

The standards are designed to protect the health of nail technicians, clients, and visitors from the risk of injury or infection due to unsanitary conditions and exposure to hazardous chemicals....

Last month the board gave preliminary approval to a proposed regulation that would standardize nail salon practices, such as hand washing, sterilization of tools, and labeling of chemicals. The proposed regulation comes amid growing concern about the health and safety of workers and clients. Nail technicians, who are exposed to a myriad of potentially hazardous chemicals every day, may experience headaches, dizziness, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and infertility. Inadequate sterilization can lead to allergic reactions, bacterial and fungal infections, and injuries.

The proposed regulation would require that the Boston Public Health Commission inspect and permit all nail salons in Boston. An owner of a nail salon found to be in violation of any provision of the proposed regulation may be fined $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second violation within a 12-month period, and $300 for the third and all subsequent violation(s) within a 12- month period. Repeated violations may result in suspension or revocation of the salon’s permit to operate.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health currently regulates nail salons statewide. The proposed regulations would allow the Boston Public Health Commission to, for the first time, inspect and permit them nail salons, according to a Commission spokeswoman.

This program aired on November 1, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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