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Results from a Community-based Occupational Health Survey of Vietnamese-American Nail Salon Workers


A community-university collaborative partnership assessed self-reported work-related health effects and environmental factors in Boston’s Vietnamese immigrant community via an interviewer-assisted survey. Seventy-one nail technicians responded. Musculoskeletal disorders, skin problems, respiratory irritation and headaches were commonly reported as work-related, as were poor air quality, dusts and offensive odors. The reporting of a work-related respiratory symptom was significantly associated with the reporting of exposure factors such as poorer air quality. Absence of skin disorders was associated with glove use and musculoskeletal symptoms were associated with years worked as a nail technician. Work-related health effects may be common in nail salon work. Chemical and musculoskeletal hazards should be reduced through product and equipment redesign.

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Long Nguyen facilitated the development of the collaboration between Viet-AID and UMass Lowell. Thong Nguyen contributed many thoughtful suggestions regarding the design of questions and recruitment of participants. The interviewers recruited participants, conducted interviews, and shared valuable insights about the survey process. Michael Ellenbecker, Marlene Goldman, Laura Punnett, Donald Milton helped to design and critique questionnaire items. This study was funded by a Harvard NIOSH ERC Pilot Grant and by NIOSH Grants OH K01 OH007956-01 and K01 OH00178-03.

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Correspondence to Cora Roelofs.

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Roelofs, C., Azaroff, L.S., Holcroft, C. et al. Results from a Community-based Occupational Health Survey of Vietnamese-American Nail Salon Workers. J Immigrant Minority Health 10, 353–361 (2008).

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  • Immigrant
  • Occupational health
  • Nail salon
  • Vietnamese-American