Nail salons throughout New York state must supply enough fresh outdoor air for its patrons and workers to remove air contaminants – and send the chemicals, vapors and fumes outdoors, under new ventilation regulations now in effect in the state. Salon owners must ensure that the dangerous air is not recirculated back into the building.

“This is an industry where workers have long been prone to exploitation and unsafe working conditions – and these regulations are the latest step this administration has taken to right these wrongs and help ensure employees across New York are treated fairly and with dignity," said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “New York is taking the lead in creating fair and reasonable rules to protect nail salon workers and customers from dangerous chemicals,” Governor Cuomo said.

The ventilation requirements are spelled out in the 2015 International Mechanical Code, and covers both nail salons and hair salons that offer nail services.

Salons licensed before October 3, 2016, will have an additional five years to comply with the new regulations. By October 3, 2021, all salons will be required to have ventilation systems that meet the new standard.

report by the New York state Department of Health found that there are potentially harmful chemicals in nail products that can cause short-term and long-term health consequences for workers who are exposed to them.

The state is holding meetings and offering a variety of educational materials to help business owners understand and comply with the new requirements.

Worker health advocacy groups like New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) cheered the development. “Today, we’re proud of New York State for implementing new precedent-setting ventilation standards that prioritize worker health, and set a new bar for worker health in nail salons in the United States," said Nadia Marin-Molina, Associate Director of NYCOSH.

The ventilation requirements follow other reforms, including a requirement that owners provide adequate supplies of appropriate protective equipment, such as masks, eye protection and gloves – and not make manicurists pay for them.