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tables and other source capture systems hold great promise for improving air quality for nail salon workers and customers, they are not without problems. Vented tables require regular maintenance and cleaning. Installing a source capture system at each table or pedicure station might be financially difficult for the owner, especially since the system must be re-installed should the business move to another location. The expense of installing a source capture system will vary depending on the approach used. Also, many nail salon owners lease their space, complicating the financing and making of structural changes (wall/roof penetrations might be necessary for duct installation). Over-use of local exhaust ventilation and excess use of energy should be avoided.

Exhausting chemicals away from the breathing zones of workers and consumers should go hand in hand with adequately filtering air that goes outside. However, it is difficult and expensive to filter chemicals in nail products out of exhaust air prior to its release.

The California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Innovative Clean Air Technology program (ICAT), focusing on improving outdoor air quality through improved technology, has brought new technologies to commercialization in California. Developing a similar program focused on indoor air quality could foster the development and commercialization of legitimate, cost effective technologies that improve indoor air in nail salons.47


  • In conjunction with the EPA, NIOSH, and CARB or other state or federal agencies, study ventilation in salons in order to: 1) Determine the level of ventilation necessary for health protective air quality for workers in nail salons;


    • 2)

      Explore the effectiveness, practical utility, and costs of vented nail tables and other source capture ventilation systems in both owned and leased space; 3) Determine how to adequately filter air that is vented to the outside of nail salons; 4) Develop recommendations with respect to the relative effectiveness and practicality of various ventilation technologies and methods.

  • Develop and fund a program similar to CARB’s ICAT program to foster the development and commercialization of practical and cost effective technologies to improve indoor air quality in salons, such as source capture ventilation systems with low-noise, air-cleaners and filters, air monitors and assessment tools.

  • The state, BBC and/or Cal/OSHA should explore and develop a more protective nail salon-specific ventilation standard, including the following:

    • 1.

      Elicit and incorporate input from nail salon owners and workers on the practicality of ventilation technologies and methods.

  • 2.

    Develop a culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach program to educate owners and workers on ventilation standards, methods, and technologies.

  • 3.

    Develop a technical assistance program to help nail salon owners comply with current standards.

4. Develop incentive and assistance programs for existing, new, and newly renovated establishments to comply with improved standards.


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