NY Nail Salon Workers Speak Out for Ventilation
August 9, 2016
The NY Healthy Nail Salons Coalition stands in strong support of the new ventilation regulations in New York State as an essential public health measure which every responsible business should support. This measure protects all those who spend time in a nail salon, including workers, clients, and business owners.
Regular exposure to the substances in many nail salons is associated with eye, nose and throat irritation, dermatitis, asthma, cancer, neurological disorders, and reproductive harm. In light of the seriousness of the exposure, existing salons in New York have been provided a generous timeline of 5 years to comply.
This life-changing rule protects and strengthens the rights of primarily immigrant Asian and Latina workers.
Below are some quotes from workers on how these regulations will change their lives:
“With the new ventilation regulation, we are talking about the long-term. If we are in a healthy environment, we can give our 100% at work and it will be better for the customer as well. Some owners are circulating a signature petition asking customers to say ventilation is unnecessary. When customers are being asked if they want ventilation, there should be a section where they explain their decision because most of them don’t understand how important ventilation is. Because of an unhealthy environment, I get allergies and start itching a lot. If I am sick, is it good for the customers?”
– Anjana, Manhattan
“This new law is very important because we work with chemicals and if we don’t have ventilation, we are breathing everything and that is not healthy for the body. Serious health problems can come of this like cancer in the lungs, respiratory tract, we’re killing ourselves. This is why we need this law to protect us. With the money we earn we could not buy another body.”
– Araceli, Manhattan
“If there is ventilation, that would move the dust and chemicals away and outside. If you only paint one customer’s nails, then it may not matter. But if you do it for 10 hours a day, then that takes a toll on your body. We do not get health insurance. You can’t put aside our health by saying that ventilation is too expensive. We have to raise our voices and make sure other workers are informed about why they need ventilation. Nail salon owners are being given 5 years, they don’t have to do it in a day, a week or a month to implement proper ventilation. We want to see the salon owners do the right thing and install proper ventilation.”
– Lamu, Manhattan
“We have been learning that ventilation is extremely important in order to adequately detoxify the salon from all the chemicals. It is very important and had it been done sooner, it would have prevented many workers from being sick, we are ill due to the acrylics and having no proper ventilation … The owners protesting this law make us, the nail salon workers, feel that our health is not important to them. Ventilation needs to be a requirement for all salons.”
– Rosa, Corona