Over the past several months, the New York Healthy Nail Salon Coalition, founded by NYCOSH and Adhikaar, has been busy working with NYS Governor Cuomo on new regulations and legislation to impact nail salon workers and consumers. In response to safety and health concerns, the state has published a draft regulation which include improved ventilation standards for nail salons. See attached; regulation begins on page 36; we have also provided the sections of the NYS Mechanical Code as referenced.
The focus of this new rulemaking is on the use of general mechanical ventilation (which brings in fresh air and exhausts it mechanically), as well as the use of “source capture/local exhaust ventilation systems” which are used right at the manicure and pedicure stations to keep the many vapors and dusts out of the breathing zones of the workers and customers. Please see “Talking Points” below.
We are looking for build momentum for this effort by your submitting comments to the state in support of this rulemaking. Your comments can be brief.
There will been no hearings; comments should be submitted, by Friday, July 17th, to:
David A. Mossberg, Esq.
NYS Department of State
123 William Street, 20th floor
New York, NY 10038
New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition TALKING POINTS FOR COMMENTS TO NYS REGULATIONS ON VENTILATION IN NAIL SALONS
- New York State’s proposed nail salon ventilation regulation is an essential public health measure to better protect nail salon employees and their clients from exposure to toxic substances.
- Nail salon workers and their customers are exposed to a myriad of chemicals (including the “toxic trio” of formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate) that are hazardous to human health. Chemicals can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin, and workers and their clients need to be better protected from exposure to these harmful substances. While the ultimate goal should be to eliminate toxic substances from nail salon products, that goal will likely take some time to achieve, and thus reducing exposure now through ventilation is crucial.
- We support the strong measures in this proposed regulation to improve nail salon ventilation in all nail salons and appearance enhancement establishments that provide nail services. The requirement of general mechanical ventilation coupled with local exhaust/source capture ventilation, in accordance with the NYS 2010 Mechanical Code, is an effective method to reduce toxic exposures in nail salons. General mechanical ventilation brings in sufficient outdoor air, provides comfortable temperature and humidity, and removes contaminated air. The NYS 2010 Mechanical Code sets specific requirements for minimum amounts of fresh outdoor air and mechanical exhaust (duct work that blows air out of the salon) that does not recirculate any air back into the salon or other spaces in the building. In addition, local exhaust ventilation, using source capture equipment (e.g., ventilation tables) at every manicure and pedicure station, is needed to reduce exposures to vapors and dusts at the point of generation to best prevent those substances from entering the breathing zones of the salon workers and customers. The final rule should include both elements as specified in the proposed regulation.
- New York State is to be applauded for joining other states and localities in taking this step to protect the public’s health. King County in Washington State, the state of Oregon, and the City of Boston have already taken action to adopt and implement mechanical ventilation standards for nail salons based on the International Mechanical Code. The City of Boston adopted the code in early 2014 for all new salons, and by 2018 all salons, regardless of when they received their license, will be required to comply with the code.
- While we want to be sure that improved ventilation is a priority for nail specialty businesses, we would not object to a reasonable period of time after finalization of the rule for businesses to come into compliance with the code.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION
While the enactment of the regulation is essential, major efforts will need to be undertaken to ensure compliance.
- Nail salon (and building) owners must be provided with adequate information to assist them in meeting code. We suggest that the state produce a technical reference guidance document to be easily accessed by building owners and engineers to assist them in this process. Easy-to-understand guides for owners will assist them in their dealings with contractors.
- For all new nail salon licensees, information regarding ventilation requirements must be provided to building and HVAC/mechanical engineers at the early stages of planning to ensure the ventilation system is properly incorporated into the construction process and plan.
- We urge NYSDOS develop inspection protocols to ensure adequate enforcement in these new ventilation regulations. This would include, at a minimum: requiring documentation such as a report from a licensed engineer or contractor or building inspection records showing that the ventilation system meets the requirements set forth in the regulation from salons seeking business licenses; training inspectors on how to properly assess the adequacy of ventilation systems; and imposing timelines for coming into compliance for those not in compliance, both for the period immediately after the regulation is implemented, and in the future when code violations have been identified.