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Team Effort on the Nail Salon Project

The Nail Salon Project first began in Houston, Texas, as a result of local community groups concerned about the health of its Asian American nail salon workers. Scientific studies have documented that nail salon products may contain many potentially harmful chemicals that can be a major cause of occupational asthma as well as other health and environmental concerns. This issue has great relevance to the Asian American and Pacific Islander population because of the large percentage of Asians working in the industry, and also because of the fact that they are recent Asian immigrants. Due to language and cultural barriers, many are not aware of the health risks caused by chemicals in nail products that they use every day, and subsequently, do not follow safety guidelines when handling, using, and disposing of these products. This issue affects everyone, especially within the Asian American and Pacific Islander population.

nail salon piechart



The ethnic breakdown of US nail technicians is 46% Caucasian and 40% Asian, with Vietnamese dominating the make up with 37% out of the Asian percentage. Thus, in order to spread awareness to the workers and to the customers, EPA has produced a pamphlet detailing the problem and procedures.

Information Resources:

The booklet "Pollution Prevention Practices for Nail Salons - A Guide to Protect Nail Salon Workers and their Working Environment", prepared by the Design for the Environment (DfE), Prevention, Pesticides & Toxic Substances - The booklet addresses chemicals found in nail products and their potential health effects.It also recommends best shop practices that nail salon owners and workers should adopt for a better and safer working place. In addition, this brochure is available in Vietnamese and soon in Korean, and EPA can also provide training to nail care stakeholders nationwide by calling the appropriate point of contacts:

Point of Contact:

Nail Salon Project: Lisa Pham, EPA Region 6 (214) 665-8326, pham.lisa@epa.gov 

Nail Salon Booklet: Catherine Manzo (manzo.catherine@epa.gov), EPA, Design for the Environment (DfE), Prevention, Pesticides & Toxic Substances, 202-564-2866.

US Environmental Protection Agency - White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders:  Piyachat Terrell, EPA OHR (202) 564-1856, Terrell.Piyachat@epa.gov 

Appreciation: Betty P. Lin, Arthur Tam, and David S. Eng

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