Industry Legislation

Yee’s Salon Safety Bill Spurs New Regulations

Assembly Speaker pro Tem Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/Daly City) commended Department of Consumer Affairs director Charlene Zettel today after she unveiled a list of recommendations aimed at protecting California consumers from unsanitary nail salons.

The recommendations come as a result of the Working Group on Footspa Safety that was created last year by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles), after vetoing a bill by Yee to clean up unsanitary salons and provide consumers with a notice if a salon had failed inspection.

“I am encouraged by the work of the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Working Group,” said Yee in a statement. “These new recommendations combined with new legislation will help ensure the protection of nail salons consumers.”

The Working Group on Footspa Safety’s recommendations include a new set of footspa cleaning requirements, increasing fines to $500 per footspa chair or cleaning log for a maximum of $5,000 per inspection, allowing the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology to put a licensee on probation for up to a year if found in violation of health and safety laws, and requiring remedial training in footspa cleaning for those who violate cleaning requirements.

“The recommendations we’re unveiling today are practical, effective ways to reduce the risk of mycobacteria, staph, and other infections from pedicures,” said director Zettel. “They represent a lot of hard work by DCA and outside stakeholders, all of whom were committed to working together to protect consumers.”

Some of the group’s recommendations, such as heavier fines for salons that fail to follow state rules for cleaning footspas, have already been implemented. Others will be realized through the regulatory process, while still others will require new legislation to be authored by Yee later this session.

In 1999 and 2000, there was an outbreak of infection from a salon in Watsonville, Calif., that caused mycobacterial infections in more than 100 women. The outbreak was due specifically to the lack of cleaning the pedicure equipment properly. In November 2004, another outbreak occurred in San Jose, Calif., that had people complaining about leg lesions and infections. The assessment is that 27 salons were involved with more than 120 people infected. Complications from one such infection are suspected to have led to a recent death.

In February, doctors determined that another woman in Fort Worth, Texas, died as a result of a staph infection caused by bacteria from a nail salon.

“Either salons are doing the right thing or they are not,” said Yee. “Those who are failing to use the proper disinfectants and cleaning mechanisms are not innocent businesses, but are irresponsible salons risking the health of consumers and an entire industry.”

Yee, in conjunction with the Department of Consumer Affairs, plans to introduce his new bill in July.

There are more than 290,000 manicurists and cosmetologists in California licensed through the state Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

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