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A Safer Manicure

For salon workers, beauty comes at a price.

Image Credit: Alice Bartlett

Thousands of years ago, the Egyptians and Chinese applied pigment to their nails to convey social status. Today, women visit the nail salon to mark a celebration or to simply retreat from life’s hectic pace. But many devotees of this ancient beauty ritual don’t realize that the chemicals used in the modern-day mani/pedi can be harmful—especially to the nail industry’s largely immigrant female workforce.For years, manicurist and salon owner Tina Bui suffered from headaches, allergies, skin irritation, and depression, but she didn’t make the connection between her symptoms and the chemicals she had been working with every day for the previous 17 years. Then she sat through a training session with the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative. The organization has worked to inform manicurists about the chemicals found in products like nail polish, polish removers, gels, powders, and acrylics and to educate them in the proper use of masks, gloves, and ventilation systems.“I didn’t know how unhealthy and harmful the products were,” says Bui, who, like 40 percent of the manicurists in the United States, emi …

By Archana Pyati. Click here for more!

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