A Preliminary Survey of Vietnamese Nail Salon Workers in Alameda County, California
- 973 Downloads
In recent decades, the nail salon industry has been one of the fastest growing in the U.S. California has over 300,000 workers licensed to perform nail care services. Though little is known about their health, these workers routinely handle cosmetic products containing carcinogens and endocrine disruptors that may increase a woman’s breast cancer risk. Additionally, an estimated 59–80% of California nail salons are run by Vietnamese women who face socio-cultural barriers that may compromise their workplace safety and health care access. In a pilot project designed to characterize Vietnamese nail salon workers in Alameda County, California in order to inform future health interventions and reduce occupational exposures, we conducted face-to-face surveys with a convenience sample of 201 Vietnamese nail salon workers at 74 salons. Of the workers surveyed, a majority reported that they are concerned about their health from exposure to workplace chemicals. Additionally, a sizeable proportion reported having experienced some health problem after they began working in the industry, particularly acute health problems that may be associated with solvent exposure (e.g. skin and eye irritation, breathing difficulties and headaches). Our findings highlight a critical need for further investigation into the breast cancer risk of nail salon workers, underscored by the workers’ routine use of carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, their prevalent health concerns about such chemicals, and their high level of acute health problems. Moreover, the predominance of Vietnamese immigrant women in this workforce makes it an important target group for further research and health interventions.
KeywordsVietnamese Nail salons Occupational exposure Health surveys Breast cancer
- 1.National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). (2006). Registry of toxic effects of chemical substances (RTECS) [web page]. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/rtecs/default.html. Accessed 6 Feb 2007.
- 4.Roelofs, C., Azaroff, L. S., Holcroft, C., Nguyen, H., & Doan, T. (2007). Results from a community-based occupational health survey of Vietnamese-American nail salon workers. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, Epub ahead of print.Google Scholar
- 5.Health Evaluation System, Information Service (HESIS). (1995). Toluene. Richmond, CA, USA: State of California, Occupational Health Branch.Google Scholar
- 6.World Health Organization (WHO), International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). (1982). IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans: Vol. 29: Some industrial chemicals and dyestuffs. Lyon, France: World Health Organization (WHO).Google Scholar
- 7.Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry (ATSDR). (2006). Toxicological profile information sheet [web page]. Available at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxpro2.html. Accessed 6 Feb 2007.
- 8.Federman, M. N., Harrington, D. E., & Krynski, K. J. (2006). Vietnamese manicurists: Are immigrants displacing natives or finding new nails to polish? Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 59, 302–318.Google Scholar
- 9.NAILS. (2006). 2006 Nail technician demographics. Nails Magazine 2005–2006 Big Book. Torrance, CA, USA: NAILS.Google Scholar
- 10.Ly, M., Tufts University. (2003). Assessing and communicating occupational health risks to Vietnamese nail salon workers (honors thesis). Medford, MA, USA: Tufts University.Google Scholar
- 11.California State Board of Barbering, Cosmetology (BBC). (2006). Application for examination. Sacramento, CA, USA: California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.Google Scholar
- 12.United States Census Bureau. (2002). Census 2000 profile: California. Washington, DC, USA: United States Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration.Google Scholar
- 14.American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). (2007). Standard 62.1-2007: Ventilation for acceptable indoor air quality. Atlanta, GA, USA: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).Google Scholar
- 15.California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). (2007). Public use files (custom data analysis) [Web Page]. Available at http://www.chis.ucla.edu/main/default.asp?page=puf. Accessed 6 Feb 2007.
- 23.NAILS Magazine. (2007). First study of Vietnamese salon industry proves some stereotypes, debunks others. NAILS Magazine, March, 76–88.Google Scholar