New York nail salon owners and workers rally in Albany on February 29, 2016; Image via AP

As part of widespread efforts to regulate the nail industry, New York State will require all nail salons to provide proper ventilation to protect the health of its workers.


The ventilation rule is the latest initiative to be introduced in the wake of The New York Times’ critical exposé last year on unsafe labor conditions and wage violations in New York salons. Previously, in May, nail salons across the state were required to display a bill of rights and ordered to issue $2 million in back pay.

According to NYT:


Any nail salon that opens on Oct. 3 or later will have to have a ventilation system. Existing salons will have five years to comply.

The expense of installing new ventilation will be borne entirely by salon owners, Alphonso David, the counsel to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, said in an interview. Some salon owners have challenged previous new salon regulations as financially burdensome for small businesses.

Despite the potential cost of the systems, the ventilation is meant to safeguard technicians against chemicals they come in contact with daily—though there’s an unfortunate lack of adequate research about the health effects of those chemicals.

In a statement about the new regulation, Governor Cuomo noted that “immigrants take some of the most dangerous jobs and are exposed to conditions that can literally kill them, if not destroy their health” and that manicurists and workers “have been grossly exploited and exposed to dangerous chemicals without any protection.”


Under the mandate, the salons’ ventilation systems must be in accordance with the International Code Council’s safety standards. Salons that don’t have proper ventilation face a fine or the possibility of being stripped of their license.