House Dem calls on OSHA to protect nail salon workers

House Dem calls on OSHA to protect nail salon workers
© Getty

Democratic Rep. Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceNew York lawmaker spotted helping mother duck and ducklings cross busy street Minnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen Hillicon Valley: Tech giants poised to weather coronavirus damage | Record Facebook-FTC deal approved | Bipartisan 5G bill introduced MORE (N.Y.) wants the Obama administration to create stronger protections for nail salon workers.

In a letter to David Michaels, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) assistant secretary of labor, Rice said she’s deeply concerned with recent media reports highlighting dangerous working conditions for those in the nail salon industry.

In an article first published online last week, The New York Times reported that the majority of manicurists are paid below minimum wage and report physical and verbal abuse from employers. They also suffer serious health issues from prolonged exposure to the chemicals used in nail and beauty products, including having babies with low birth weights, miscarriages and cancer.  

ADVERTISEMENT

The federal law that regulates cosmetics safety does not require companies to share safety information with the Food and Drug Administration, The New York Times reported.

“More must be done to help these workers,” Rice said in her letter. “As you have appropriately acknowledged, OSHA’s safety standards regarding chemical exposure levels for manicurists need revision.”

Rice went on to claim that OSHA has admitted its ability to protect workers is less effective due to its internal rule-making process.

“This is simply unacceptable,” she said.

The day after The New York Times published its story, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo created a multiagency task force to investigate nail salons in New York, institute new rules to protect manicurists from potentially dangerous chemicals found in nail products and begin a six-language education campaign to inform workers of their rights, the Times reports.