The Need for Healthy Salons

Many of us go to nail salons to relax and to be pampered. We don’t think of these places as potentially hazardous work environments, yet for many manicurists, regular on-the-job exposure to toxic chemicals is a reality. Workers often experience headaches, dizziness, rashes and other acute symptoms.

Some  chemicals are known to cause cancer and reproductive, developmental, and respiratory harm. The most notorious of these chemicals is the “toxic trio”–toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate.

The Collaborative initiated the “Healthy Nail Salon Campaign” to establish Healthy Nail Salon Recognition Programs throughout the state. These programs are now established in the City of Santa Monica, and Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and San Mateo Counties. 

Healthy Nail Salons not only help to reduce worker and customer exposure to harmful chemicals, but also help to increase business. We also know from our research that adopting healthy salon practices  is viewed positively by clients and that many would be willing to pay more to receive services at a designated “Healthy Nail Salon.”


The Collaborative is excited to be working in partnership with its county partners, Asian Health Services, the Federal Reserve Bank, and two microlending partners (Opportunity Fund and Working Solutionsto pilot a microloan program that can help salons access the capital and resources  to advance their  workplace practices and use of safer products in order to become a designated Healthy Nail Salon. Check out media coverage from our November 2016 announcement on NBC News and the East Bay Times. This is a pilot program only available to salons in the Bay Area counties with Healthy Nail Salon Recognition Programs.

Currently the program recruitment is closed, but we hope a successful pilot will lead to more opportunities like this program in the future.