Manicures, Pedicures: A Women’s Health Issue

manicuresLately, the news has been going crazy with all sorts of articles discussing the problems with nail salons, and the craze has been successful enough in provoking reform in the nail salon business. There are harmful chemicals and ingredients in nail products, and they are causing detrimental health effects on those who work with the products. Women who work in nail salons are having respiratory issues, skin discoloration, miscarriages or resulting in birth defects in children, and are at a higher risk for cancer jus to list a few of the harmful effects of working in this business.

It’s a complicated issue, however.

For one thing, there is just not enough research out there to fully investigate the issue. We don’t know how this issue affects those who get their nails done, and we are just finding out the detrimental effects on those who do the work. There is not enough monetary funding to conduct thorough investigations, and more importantly, in terms of research priority, combating health effects in nail salon businesses do not rank as highly as finding the cure for cancer or fighting world hunger.

Regulations pose another complication to the issue. Despite efforts to fight against putting toxic ingredients in nail products, there is often not enough support to pass it through. There is also a lot of red tape involved when it comes to federal regulations, and most of the time, companies are left with the regulation responsibility.

There is also a subtle issue of employment and making a living. Many of those who work in nail salon business are immigrants, and employment can be hard to find. Working provides a means to pay bills and provide for their families.

Lack of exposure also plays a role in complicating this issue. We didn’t know, and we’re just finding out about it now. Nail salons have been around for many years, and we are now finally putting the pieces together. However, exposing this issue is difficult because there is just so much else going on in the world, other issues that also need to be brought into the spotlight. How do we prioritize? More importantly, is it right to prioritize these kinds of problems?

Thankfully, the issue of nail salon businesses is quickly becoming a hot issue, and with the help of technology, digital news, and social media, we are able to provoke reform at a quicker pace. While it is nice to have and look at pretty nails, I think it’s important to start thinking about whether or not the cost is worth it.

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About This Blogger

Grace Kim

Grace Kim is currently a student at Arizona State University studying Biology with a concentration in Biology and Society. She is primarily interested in women’s health and hopes to pursue a career in science policy and/or science communications after graduate school. She enjoys learning about history, astronomy, and microbiology, and besides writing, she likes to bake, sew, and read in her spare time.