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Nail salon to get first EnviroStars certification for healthier products, better environment

Summary

By using safer products and improving air quality for employees and customers, a Bellevue nail salon has become the first to receive EnviroStars Program certification as a Healthy Nail Salon.

Story

By using safer products and improving air quality for employees and customers, a Bellevue nail salonLocal_Hazardous_Waste has become the first to receive EnviroStars Program certification as a Healthy Nail Salon.

The public is invited to learn how My Nail Salon & Spa’s new products and techniques help keep people and the environment safe during a June 14 open house, from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 1645 140th Ave. NE, Bellevue.

Becoming an EnviroStars Healthy Nail Salon means safer products and a safer working environment – and perhaps a leg up on the competition. Nearly 90 percent of recently surveyed nail salon patrons in San Mateo County, Calif., said they would pay more for services in healthy nail salons.

To qualify as an EnviroStars Healthy Nail Salon, My Nail Salon & Spa agreed to use less-toxic nail polish that does not contain the “toxic trio” of toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate, as well as polish thinners that don’t contain hazardous solvents.

Additionally, the salon’s state-of-the-art ventilation pulls airborne chemicals away from the nail technicians and clients, and brings in fresh air.

Salons can earn EnviroStars certification by using less toxic products or by safer practices, such as:

• Using only nail polishes that do not contain toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate; Envirostars
• Using polish thinners that do not contain hazardous solvents;
• Requiring employees to wear safety gloves;
• Using local ventilation at each nail salon table;
• Bringing fresh air into the salon with a ventilation system;
• Safely storing chemicals;
• Safely dispose of hazardous waste; and 
• Train all employees to use the safer salons practices.

The Healthy Nail Salon project started in 2007 with a community partner, the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS), a local non-profit group with strong connections to the Vietnamese community.

Those connections matter: Of the estimated 430 nail salons in King County, more than 80 percent are owned and operated by Vietnamese-speaking people. Before this project began, there was scant information available in Vietnamese on safe chemical handling and other safety issues related to nail salon operations.

Employees with the Local Hazardous Waste Program in King County partnered with ECOSS representatives in the Healthy Nail Salon project and created bilingual workshops, training materials and brochures for Vietnamese nail salon owners and workers.

Project partners also visited many of the 430 nail salons in King County to share information, best practices and offer tips on how salon operators can lower chemical exposure for workers and clients.

King County nail salons that become EnviroStars Certified Healthy Nail Salons gain access to many services, such as marketing, disposal and technical assistance.

For more information on how to become a Healthy Nail Salon contact Laurie Foster at 206-263-3061 or laurie.foster@kingcounty.gov.

This project is one of the services provided by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program through a partnership of more than 40 city, county and tribal governments working together in King County to reduce threats from hazardous materials and wastes. More information is available at www.HazWasteHelp.org.