The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative’s mission is to improve the health, safety and rights of the nail and beauty care workforce to achieve a healthier, more sustainable and just industry.
In 2005, Asian Health Services’ community health workers first noted the epidemic of health issues, such as asthma, chronic rashes, and miscarriages, that nail salon workers were experiencing when they were conducting outreach to community members about diabetes education. In response, AHS established the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative (Collaborative). The Collaborative was created in response to the health needs of the nail salon community, and we are committed to making the nail salon industry healthier, sustainable and just.
On a daily basis, nail salon workers are chronically and cumulatively exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer, reproductive harm, asthma, and other chronic illnesses due to the products that they handle 8-10 hours a day. Most are low-income Asian immigrant women of reproductive age, and they are experiencing a multitude of health issues and health disparities. There is also a lack of awareness and enforcement among workforce members about fair labor standards and worker rights, resulting in violations of loss of wages, benefits, and other labor rights.
The Collaborative works together with nail salon workers and owners. The Collaborative is winning worker protections, fostering the creation of “healthy salons,” and improving public health by:
- Leveraging the expertise, skills, and resources of the Collaborative’s members and partners
- Outreaching and building leadership among salon workers and owners
- Conducting research about workplace chemical exposures and health outcomes, and other issues impacting worker conditions
- Advocating for legislative and regulatory policies that protect the health, safety and rights of the workforce
- Engaging media efforts and public education to raise awareness about health issues and labor rights at nail salons
- Connecting diverse stakeholders and building the movement for healthy and fair nail salons in California and across the nation
The health, safety, and rights that nail salon workers deserve are complex and intersect multiple issue areas such as reproductive and environmental justice and public health. The Collaborative brings together a wide variety of organizations with diverse expertise. We are a 20-member statewide coalition representing the nail salon community, environmental and reproductive justice, public health and workers’ rights organizations. Our coalition also includes researchers, government agencies and other key stakeholders.
2016 Roy Family Award from Harvard University
We were honored to travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to receive the prestigious 2016 Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University! The award, given every two years, recognizes outstanding public-private partnerships that advance environmental quality. We were selected from a field of more than 50 nominees from around the world! Check out a video recap of the ceremony here.
The Collaborative has also received awards from the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of the American Public Health Association, the California Women’s Foundation, and the Environmental Protection Agency Region 9.