The recent flurry of media coverage of a “fish pedicure” being performed by a salon in Virginia reports on a service that as described is contrary to all standards and beliefs of the International Nail Technicians Association (INTA) and its Pedicure Equipment Cleaning & Disinfecting Procedures.

The service requires clients to place their feet into a tub containing approximately 100 small carp that then ingest the calloused areas of clients’ feet. INTA opposes any such technique that could cause potential harm to the consumer as well as the long-term viability of the professional nail industry.

Dr. Robert Spaulding, the author of Death By Pedicure and The Science of Pedicures, responded to INTA’s inquiry as follows: “This type of service should not be allowed or approved by state cosmetology boards in any type of salon. Basically, it departs from any known convention of appropriate approved disinfection standards.”

Improper cleaning of pedicure equipment may lead to health safety concerns for salon clients, intense regulatory investigation, and a severe threat to a salon business. As described, this service does not adhere to any scientific or regulatory data regarding safety and sanitation in the salon, INTA says.

INTA strongly recommends that any nail professionals questioned by clients about this technique should caution consumers to inquire about proper cleaning and disinfecting of the fish tank for their own safety. Disinfection of pedicure equipment is required between each pedicure client, among other procedures developed and adopted by INTA and the Nail Manufacturers Council.

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