As I type this article, I humbly look down as my nails that have been filed off to the quick. It isn’t that I don’t have long nails sometimes; it is just that most of the time I am doing work with my kids on projects that keep my nails a bit dirty and hard to scrub out so convenience keeps them short and clean. Thus, I am not the type to head off to the nail salon for a manicure. Plus, I am a bit crunchy so the chemicals that come with manicures and pedicures are not ideal for my lifestyle.
However, I heard a story on the radio the other day about the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative that excited my free-market-loving soul. The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative (CHNSC) is an independent accrediting/licensing agency that works with nail salons across California to become healthier work environments for their employees who work with the toxic chemicals found in nail products day in and day out.
Statistics clearly demonstrated that nail salon workers are developing breathing conditions like asthma and allergies at an alarming rate. Workers struggle with lung issues and severe headaches and migraines on a consistent basis, and this fact alarmed David Chui and the San Francisco Department of Environment that partnered to establish the CHNSC, which is a voluntary accrediting organization that gives special recognition to salons that follow their guidelines that focus on customer and employee health and safety and exceed California State licensing requirements.
This voluntary, self-regulating organization works diligently in counties across California to educate salon owners, workers, and customers of the long-term effects of highly toxic products and practices in the industry. Subsequently, they partner with participating salons to develop new best practices which include safer products and more industrial grade ventilation systems. These efforts are then acknowledged in the community to promote the salon to new health conscience costumers.
Although there is some initial financial investment on the part of the salon owner, they are finding that health care costs are declining, employee satisfaction and retention is rising, and repeat customers are increasing because of the changes that have been made. And patrons don’t seem to mind paying a couple of extra dollars for their non-toxic nail treatment.
This to me is a shining example of what self-regulation versus government imposed mandates can accomplish. My hope is that this independent regulatory agency will grow exponentially across the country and that other industries would take note. Self-governance is always best and can be successful when we care about people. So my hat’s off to the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative and its participants.