Indoor Air Quality in Nail Salons

Developments in State Policy


New York

Citation: 19 N.Y. Codes, Rules and Regs. §160.16



Summary:  In 2016, the New York Secretary of State (Division of Licensing Services) amended its nail salon licensing regulations to require owners of both new and existing nail salons to provide a mechanical ventilation system that complies with the 2015 International Mechanical Code. The regulations expand on the IMC provisions and require certification of compliance. The state produced a technical guidance document to assist building contractors and designers in complying with the new regulations.

Key Provisions:  New York’s licensing regulations require generally that nail salons have a ventilation system that complies with the 2015 IMC, “such that it” meets the following requirements set out in the regulations.

  • Mechanical Ventilation System Standards. The ventilation system must have capacity to supply outdoor air flow at a rate of at least the greater of: (a) the IMC standards for nail salons, or (b) 50 cubic feet per minute (cfm) for each nail station in the salon. The system must be balanced to supply outdoor air at a rate equal to the rate of the exhaust.
  • Mechanical Exhaust System Standards. The salon’s mechanical exhaust system must:
    • Be designed and constructed to capture all chemical vapors, fumes, dust, and other air contaminants at their source and exhaust such contaminants to the outdoor atmosphere;
    • Have at least one exhaust inlet for each nail station – either factory-installed by the manufacturer or field-installed no more than 12 inches horizontally or vertically from the point of chemical application or where the customer’s nails are placed when nail services are being performed;
    • Have the capacity to exhaust air at a rate of at least (a) the ventilation standards in the 2015 IMC, or (b) 50 cfm for each nail station, whichever is greater;
    • Exhaust all exhaust air from the nail salon to the outdoors, in a manner ensuring that no part of the exhaust air will be “recirculated into the nail salon or into any other space in the building, or transferred to any other space in the building”; and
    • Ensure that each exhaust discharge is located where “it will not cause a nuisance to others and where the exhausted air…cannot be readily drawn in by the outdoor air intake components….”
  • Operating Requirement. The ventilation system must be “balanced in a manner to supply outdoor air at a rate equal to the rate of the exhaust,” and operate at the required supply and exhaust airflow rates “at all times when the nail salon is occupied by any person.”
  • Compliance Dates and Certification. Nail salons obtaining a new business license on or after October 3, 2016 must immediately comply with the new ventilation requirements. Nail salons licensed before October 3, 2016 have until October 3, 2021 to comply with the ventilation requirements. The regulations require that salons maintain on the premises a certification of compliance signed by the ventilation system installer, manufacturer or registered design professional.


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