Workplace exposures

Sens. Blumenthal and Schumer call on OSHA to protect nail-salon workers

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Photo: photohaydar/iStockPhoto

Washington – OSHA is not doing enough to protect nail-salon workers from frequent exposures to toxic chemicals that may lead to respiratory problems, skin disorders, miscarriages and other serious health complications, according to a pair of lawmakers.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) demanded stronger protections in a letter sent May 22 to OSHA administrator David Michaels. The senators said their letter was prompted by a recent New York Times investigative report about the industry.

OSHA’s permissible exposure limits for chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate are outdated and insufficient, the senators claim. The agency’s weakened standards allow nail salons to meet legal requirements without keeping workers safe, they added.

Blumenthal and Schumer asked OSHA to respond within two weeks to the following items:

  • Identify any additional authority OSHA needs from Congress to conduct an expedited update of the PELs for chemicals found in nail-salon products.
  • Outline services and remedies OSHA can provide to nail-salon workers who have suffered from harmful exposure to chemicals.
  • Detail an inspection plan for enforcing existing and future standards in nail salons nationwide.