In the last two decades, nail salons have cropped up on nearly every major street in the nation, with California currently home to the largest number of salons and licensed nail technicians. Nail salon workers routinely handle cosmetic products that contain a multitude of hazardous compounds including carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, reproductive toxins and respiratory irritants. However, available training materials lack comprehensive information about safety precautions that salons can take to minimize chemical exposures;including recommendations for less-toxic products, improved ventilation, safe handling of toxic compounds, personal protective equipment and other administrative controls (e.g., break time outside salons). Furthermore, despite the fact that Vietnamese immigrants dominate the California workforce, training materials are not translated to fit their needs. Consequently, nail salon workers needlessly suffer a number of health problems. We propose to conduct an owner-to-worker education intervention using Vietnamese American nail salon owners to train workers within their salons on how to reduce workplace chemical exposures. Using a group randomized controlled trial design and targeting select areas in California with a large density of nail salons, we will conduct repeated surveys and personal air sampling to evaluate changes in workplace exposure, worker knowledge, behavior, and health effects between baseline and follow-up periods. The primary hypothesis is that there will be a significantly greater reduction in measured levels of air contaminants among workers in the intervention group than in the comparison group.
The specific aims are to: 1) Enhance existing workplace chemical exposure reduction (WCER) education materials and survey instruments that target Vietnamese nail salon owners and workers. 2) Implement an owner-to-worker intervention to administer the WCER education materials. 3) Evaluate the effectiveness of the owner-to-worker WCER intervention for: a)reducing the primary outcome of measured personal levels of air contaminants (e.g., toluene, formaldehyde, methyl methacrylate and total volatile organic compounds) in workers; b)influencing the secondary outcomes which include: i) increasing worker knowledge of WCER;ii) modifying behavioral and environmental factors that promote WCER;and iii) reducing work-related health problems (e.g., acute health symptoms). The proposed intervention study is expected to have significant public health impact by reducing workplace chemical exposures in a large, rapidly-growing and predominantly immigrant workforce that is disproportionately exposed, with a goal to ultimately reduce health disparities.
The proposed study focuses on the high profile concerns of health risks from chemical exposures in the burgeoning nail salon industry, an industry dominated in California by Vietnamese immigrant workers. We will conduct an owner-to-worker education intervention using Vietnamese American nail salon owners to train their workers on how to reduce workplace chemical exposures and will evaluate changes in workplace exposure, worker knowledge, behavior, and health effects between baseline and follow-up periods using personal air monitoring measurements and administered survey information. The intervention is expected to have significant public health impact by reducing harmful workplace exposures in a large, predominantly immigrant workforce that is disproportionately exposed, and thus, ultimately designed to reduce health disparities.