225754 Achieving Social Justice for Nail Salon Workers: A Case Study of Implementing Local City Policy to Impact Worker Health

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Julia Liou, MPH , Asian Health Services, Oakland, CA
Lenh Tsan , Asian Law Caucus, San Francisco, CA
Catherine Porter , California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, Oakland, CA
Pam Palitz , Environment California, Los Angeles, CA
Nail salon and cosmetology workers handle on a daily basis solvents, chemical solutions, glues, and cosmetic products that contain chemicals known to be carcinogenic and suspected to cause reproductive harm. While studies suggest an elevated prevalence of acute health effects among nail salon workers, such as musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory symptoms, skin problems and headaches, compared to the general population, long-term concerns related to cancer and reproductive impacts have burgeoned given the chronic exposure of these workers to toxic chemicals. To prevent long-term health impacts and address the root causes of the health impacts experienced by nail salon workers, a significant number who are low-income Vietnamese immigrant women of reproductive age, the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, in partnership with its member Asian Law Caucus and Environment California, launched a citywide campaign with San Francisco policymakers focused on banning three chemicals of greatest concern from nail care products--formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. The campaign's purpose is to catalyze system changes that impel the cosmetics industry to manufacture safer products in order to reduce the burden of toxics on workers, build greater awareness about healthier and safer workplace practices and products, and empower the nail salon community to advocate for solutions that positively impact their health. This session will describe the lessons learned from the policy campaign to address the systematic and institutional power inequalities that contribute to the social injustices faced by nail salon workers in order to assure the right of these workers to safe and healthy workplace conditions.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the successes and challenges of implementing city policies that address root causes of worker health issues. 2) Identify at least three factors integral to implementing a campaign that ensures worker voices and empowers workers to advocate for themselves. 3) Articulate the process for developing a citywide campaign with appropriate community based, governmental, and public health partners.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because I participate as well as coordinate the activities and efforts in conjunction with several partners as described in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.