As a working mom, I have few indulgences...aside from a couple of pedicures during the summer months, that is. As someone who is always catering to others' needs, having my feet rubbed and generally being treated like a queen for 1/2 hour is hard to resist. Not to mention the allure of red toe nails.
This bubble has burst. Around the PPNNE office, I had been hearing water cooler conversations about nail workers (most of whom are in their childbearing years) and their increased exposure to formaldehyde and other toxins. I conveniently buried my head in the sand, as pedicure season was upon me.
When I finally got in the chair for my first pedi of the season, ready to let pampering rain upon me, I couldn't enjoy it. I started to feel like my eyeballs were throbbing and I couldn't wait to breathe fresh air. This sent me to internet, where I learned astonishing things.
Most nail workers have a common profile. They tend to earn less than $17,000 a year and are usually recent immigrants without health insurance. Throughout their work day, commonly in poorly ventilated spaces, they are continuously exposed to solvents, glues, and countless chemicals linked to cancers, respiratory and skin problems, and reproductive harm. (Ingredients in cosmetics are not regulated by the FDA!!!) According to the California Breast Cancer Research Program, breast cancer is the number one cancer in Vietnamese women, who make up the majority of the nail worker force.
I have a few weeks before I am due for my next pedicure, and I intend to research what the less toxic and cruel alternatives are. Should you know of any, kindly post a comment.