Indoor Air Quality in Nail Salons

Developments in State Policy



Citation: Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25257.2



Summary:  A number of local jurisdictions in California (e.g., the city of San Francisco, as well as Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Santa Monica counties) have established voluntary healthy nail salon recognition programs to encourage and assist nail salons in improving indoor air quality and other practices. In September 2016, the state enacted a new law to help facilitate the adoption of similar voluntary programs throughout the state.  The law requires the state to publish guidelines for voluntary healthy nail salon recognition programs, conduct outreach to local governments, and implement a consumer education program.  (Separate legislation – Assembly Bill 2025 – was enacted around the same time to incorporate education and awareness of health and safety generally into the facility licensing process.)

Key Provisions:  

  • Guidelines for Voluntary Healthy Nail Salon Recognition (HNSR) Programs. The law requires the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to publish guidelines for HNSR programs that maybe voluntarily adopted and implemented by cities and counties. The Guidelines, to be developed in consultation with other state agencies, may incorporate program criteria such as training and certification for salons and compliance verification by the local jurisdiction. The law lists a number of items that may be included in the Guidelines:
    • A list of chemical ingredients that should not be used by participating nail salons;
    • A list of best practices for minimizing exposure, including: personal protective equipment for workers; ventilation and other engineering controls; prohibition of nail polishes that contain toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate; prohibition of nail polish thinners that contain methyl ethyl ketone or toluene; and prohibition of nail polish removers that contain ethyl or butyl acetate;
    • A list of topics for training participating salon owners and staff on safer practices; and
    • Verification that participating salons are in compliance with state licensing laws and regulations.
  • Outreach to Local Governments. In collaboration with existing HNSR programs, DTSC is to present the state guidelines to local health and other agencies. The agency is also required to develop and post on its website information to assist local entities in implementing HNSR programs.
  • Public Education. The law directs DTSC to develop a consumer education program and to develop a web page that links to local HSNR programs.
  • Compliance with State Regulations. According to the law, violations of the health and safety provisions of the state’s Board of Barbering and Cosmetology regulations must result in the removal of healthy nail salon recognition for the salon.


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