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Color Me Nontoxic

I have always been curious to know how workers in salons are able to handle the strong chemical smells for long periods of time.  When I sometimes visit the salon to do my nails, I can hardly handle the odor- even for a short interval. That is why the title grabbed my attention and pushed me to read the article. I wanted to know more about the chemicals they use in nail salons and how these chemical products affect people who inhale their fumes. However, some salons don’t have that chemical-like smell, and that is because some of these salons use organic products; it’s actually relatively easy to tell the difference between the different odors in various salons (the organic products smell is not as strong as its chemical counterpart).

According to the article, manicurists who are exposed to chemical material for long hours greatly risk the deterioration of their health.  Among those workers whose wellbeing is affected, are pregnant women.  The article mentioned some stories about one of the workers that lost her baby (while still in the womb) during the eighth month of her pregnancy.  Also, the article mentioned Time magazine, in 2007, wrote that one of the worst jobs in the United States was being a nail salon worker, because most salons used toxic products, and that was very bad for the workers constitutions. About 96% of salon employees are women, and 42% are Asian or some other nationality.  Most of these workers have very low income and they can barely speak English; so, they are forced to work for minimum wage. Their job, however, does not require them to speak (a lot of) English. According to the studies that were done in the University of Massachusetts, Vietnamese nail workers had a medical condition that lead to health problems such as musculoskeletal disorder and breathing problems.  The government then set laws pertaining to the level of chemicals workers were allowed to be exposed to in salons.  However that level is not enough to protect workers’ health.  Therefore, the government should set more strict rules that protect salon workers’ health.

The article discusses a very important matter that salon employees should take seriously; they should also find some ways to protect their health.  I believe finding a job is not easy, especially for foreigners, so it would definitely be difficult to afford their daily life needs; however, I believe good health is the most important thing we have and need.  If we lose our health, we cannot get it back later on.

Article by: Momo Chang

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