Developing a proactive research agenda to advance nail salon worker health, safety, and rights

Prog Community Health Partnersh. Spring 2012;6(1):75-82. doi: 10.1353/cpr.2012.0005.


The problem: Nail salons represent a burgeoning industry with Vietnamese immigrant workers making up the majority. Workers routinely handle cosmetic products containing hazardous compounds, with implications for their health.

Purpose of article: This paper describes how a collaborative of multiple organizations and community members collectively developed a proactive research agenda for salon worker health, safety, and rights during a pivotal multistakeholder convening, and advanced on such recommendations, including creating groundbreaking policy changes.

Key points: Key recommendations included (1) creating a multidisciplinary research advisory committee, (2) conducting research on workplace exposures and long-term health impacts, (3) advocating for better governmental oversight of product manufacturers, and (4) identifying safer product alternatives via green chemistry, albeit with cost considerations to salon businesses.

Conclusion: The participation of diverse stakeholders in the discussions allowed for cross-dialogue on a complex issue, helped to align different stakeholders as allies, and identified critical resources to addressing research gaps.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Beauty Culture / standards*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / methods
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / organization & administration
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects*
  • Cosmetics / standards
  • Green Chemistry Technology / methods
  • Green Chemistry Technology / standards
  • Hazardous Substances / adverse effects
  • Hazardous Substances / standards
  • Health Care Coalitions / organization & administration
  • Health Care Coalitions / standards
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / ethnology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Vietnam / ethnology
  • Workforce


  • Cosmetics
  • Hazardous Substances