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Southern California launches healthy nail salon initiative

A new initiative in Southern California seeks to reward nail salons that make changes to reduce exposure to harmful nail polish additives for employees and customers. The suggested changes include improvements to ventilation, the requirement that workers use heavy-duty gloves and the banning of polishes that contain three additives that are considered particularly dangerous. These chemicals are formaldehyde, tolulene and dibutyl phthalate. To help promote the initiative, the city of Santa Monica is offering free advertising to salons that get rid of polishes containing the toxic ingredients.

Many nail salon employees work between seven to 10 hours per day, causing the exposure to toxic chemicals to accumulate. Workers may experience fatigue, nausea, headaches, dizziness, sore throat and irritation of the upper respiratory tract. In addition, toluene has been demonstrated to cause birth defects for children born to women who have been exposed to high toluene levels. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can trigger asthma attacks. Not much is known about the effects of dibutyl phthalate; however, laboratory studies have shown that it is mildly toxic when inhaled by rats and mice. Workers who have been exposed to toxic chemicals in the workplace may be eligible for compensation.

Workers who have experienced illness due to chemical exposure might decide to file for a workers' compensation claim to pay for medical bills and time off from work. A workers' compensation claim may help to lift financial pressure off of workers and their families following an illness or injury.

A California lawyer with experience in workers' compensation cases may be able to offer guidance and assistance in filing a claim. In some cases, the insurance company might make a minimal offer that is not adequate to cover expenses. A lawyer may have the resources and expertise to successfully negotiate for a more substantial settlement.

Source: NBC Los Angeles, "Nail Salons Get Free Ads, If They Ditch Toxic Polish", Samantha Tata, July 16, 2013

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