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Nail Salons in NYC Are Way Grosser Than You Thought

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Steel your nerves, because some truly disgusting factoids—about all the gross bacteria you might find at that place you visit in order to feel clean and fresh—are coming your way.

Among the many surprises in NYC Public Advocate Letitia James' report on the state of New York City nail salons is the fact that over half of them (56%) were in violation of health and safety rules between 2008 and 2012, the New York Observer reports. And that's hardly the worst of it.

According to the report, the "toxic trio" of toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate, which are still legal (and prevalent) in nail polish products and salons, have been shown to cause reproductive harm, respiratory problems, cancer and birth defects. And on the subject of seriously lax regulation, there are currently no laws that require nail salons to have proper ventilation, which means that the aforementioned chemicals can swirl around indoors all day.

Even disinfection laws, which require nail salons to sanitize foot baths and forbid the reuse of nail files, aren't followed by nearly 75% of salons in the United States, resulting in staph and hepatitis infections.

Who is most at risk in these dangerous environments? Naturally, it's the 13,100 nail technicians in New York City, who earn an average of $8.95 an hour and generally don't receive health insurance to cover commonly reported conditions like skin problems, eye irritation, allergies, neck and back discomfort and asthma.

In response, James' office issued the following recommendations: establish a "healthy nail salon" incentive program, ensure cleaner air in salons, conduct a citywide safety study, provide health information in multiple languages, require technicians to wear proper gear, and designate official salon inspectors. As for your next manicure, however, we highly recommend shelling out slightly bigger bucks for one of these Racked-approved salons.
· Here Are Some Terrifying Facts About NYC Nail Salons [NY Observer]
· New York City's 38 Best Beauty Stores, Salons, and Spas [Racked NY]