Salon Sanitation

The Nails File: Chicago Salon Controversy

All it takes is one bad apple. Chicago's Channel 7 "Eyewitness News" gave Chicago-area salons a failing grade in salon sanitation in its two-part story that aired November 8-9, 1995. The title of the segment, "Danger at Your Fingertips," sums up what the reporter, Lauren Cohn, and her producers found when they went undercover into six Chicago salons with a hidden camera. The producers recerved manicures and pedicure; the "clients" also took bacteria samples from implements, equipment, and salon surfaces.

What they found is that all six salons failed to follow sanitation guidelines that are outlined in industry textbooks and in the pending laws in Illinois. None of the technicians asked the "clients" to wash their hands, and they refused files and oreangeood sticks from previous clients. One producer reported that a technician, after looking around for her file, found it in a sink with other dirty implements. To the producer's dismay, the technician used the file on her nails. 

Cohn consulted nail salon owner Maggie Boyd, well-known in Illinois for her work in establishing nail technician education and licensing requirements for Illinois nail technicians, on what constitues a safe salon. Boyd advised the reporter that consumers should look for a salon where they are required to wash their hands (and feet for a pedicure) with antibacterial soap, where files and orangewood sticks are sanitized between each client or used on one client only, where metal implements are disinfected for 10 minutes between clients, and where fresh towels are used on each client. 

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