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Nail salon workers face elevated risk of reproductive health issues: report

Photo: Maxpetac/gettyimages

New York — Female nail technicians have a higher occurrence of reproductive health issues than other women, according to a new report from the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition.

The report is based, in part, on survey responses from 312 nail technicians in New York City. Among the findings:

  • 17% of the nail technicians said they had reproductive health issues. That’s six percentage points higher than women in the United States overall.
  • 18% reported they had pregnancy complications, compared with 8% of women in the general population.
  • 7% said they had children with birth defects. For the general population, it’s 2%-3%.

The report points to chemicals used in nail salons as “abundant, toxic and associated with serious health risks, including damage to reproductive health.” Among its recommendations: strengthened enforcement and compliance for nail salons.

“Numerous studies have shown that there is widespread wage theft and health and safety violations in the nail salon industry, along with many barriers that discourage already-vulnerable workers from making formal complaints,” the report states. “A strategy for more proactive investigation of the industry will decrease reliance on worker-initiated complaints to guide enforcement, and the nail salon business licensing process should incorporate a more comprehensive compliance, monitoring and enforcement plan for the industry.”

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