We are a team of researchers, public health professionals and community members who are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of those working in the beauty industry. Our current focus is the nail salon industry. We work with nail salon owners and employees to improve their salon’s practices, policies, and environment that support long-term health of salon employees and customers.
Nail care workers are at higher risk of work-related illnesses such as respiratory and skin irritation, neurological impairment, and potentially adverse reproductive health from chronic chemical exposure. These workers are also at high risk of developing musculoskeletal diseases from repetitive tasks and being in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. Nail care workers face the multitudes of challenges and disparities that are largely driven by their social and economic disadvantages. Most nail care workers are first-generation immigrants from Asia with limited English language skills, which significantly limits their access to other job/career opportunities. They generally have lower education attainment compared to their U.S.-born counterparts. They work long hours and receive low wages in mostly small mom-and-pop shops with narrow profit margins. Many owners in these small mom-and-pop salons are workers themselves and face language barriers to properly offer health and safety training to their employees. Because these small businesses have been the economic backbone of many immigrant families, it is critical to invest and empower these communities to achieve a healthier and more sustainable industry.