Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Council Member Rafael Espinal, chair of the City Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs, officially unveiled a legislative package relating to the creation of a letter grading system for cosmetology businesses, including nail salons, spas, barber shops, beauty parlors and other similar establishments throughout the five boroughs.
This legislative package, which was officially introduced in the City Council at Wednesday’s stated meeting, includes a resolution calling on the state to allow New York City to create a letter grading system for salons and spas, as well as a bill creating a “Customer’s Bill of Rights” for salon and spa patrons. A third item, a resolution, calls on the New York State Division of Licensing Services, which provides licensing for cosmetology professionals, to expand its health and safety training options.
“While most salon and spa owners operate clean, reputable establishments, some do not, and they are putting the health and safety of their customers at great risk. The procedures used in many salons can almost be medical in nature, yet oversight of these businesses is currently very minimal. We have to change that,” said Borough President Diaz. “The health and safety of the people of this city is our top priority, and these bills will go a long way towards protecting New Yorkers from unhealthy, potentially dangerous conditions. I look forward to working with all of you to make our city’s salons and spas safer for everyone.”
“As the Chair of the City Council’s Consumer Affairs Committee, one of my goals has been to seek a balance between limiting overbearing regulations and excessive fines on businesses that hurt their growth, and protecting the rights of consumers,” stated Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr. “The legislative package that Borough President Diaz and I are introducing today seeks to do that. Most of the appearance enhancement businesses in our city are trying to do the right thing by following health and safety protocols. However, there have been reports of unsanitary practices in some of these establishments as the industry continues to grow. We want consumers to feel good while they’re being pampered and not worry that they are at risk of being exposed to some type of infection. The legislative package would require the posting of certain consumers’ rights related to the services offered at appearance enhancement businesses. It also calls for the creation of a letter grade system for these types of businesses, periodic retraining of licensed practitioners and an increase in the number of health and safety inspectors. Together, these steps will go a long way towards ensuring that consumers are protected and have the necessary tools to make an informed decision when seeking cosmetology services. I would like to commend Borough President Diaz for his work on this issue and look forward to working with him to ensure that the points in this legislative package are fully implemented.”
Borough President Diaz and Council Member Espinal were joined at the press event by numerous colleagues from across the city who are also supporting the legislative package
“Salons are an integral fixture throughout our City and their staff work hard and diligently. The patrons of these salons deserve to have all relevant health information when visiting. When we strengthen our public health, we strengthen our entire community. That’s why I am co-sponsoring these pieces of legislation to reinforce regulations for these salons. I thank Borough President Diaz and Council Member Espinal for their leadership on this important issue,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides.
“By creating training opportunities, a grading system and signage requirements, these measures will make New York nail salons safer for both customers and workers alike,” said Council Member Rory I. Lancman.
“We should be holding our salons and spas to the highest standard of safety and cleanliness. Patrons deserve to know upfront if a business has not met basic sanitation guidelines, especially where those conditions could lead to significant health hazards,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres. “These commonsense measures will provide New York consumers with the background they need to make informed decisions.”
“The legislation introduced by Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Council Member Espinal, creating a grading system for nail and beauty salons is extremely innovative and I am happy to support it. Any patron of a nail salon, spa or cosmetology type business has a right to know where the business stands in the eyes of the health department,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.
“These bills will not only protect nail and beauty salon patrons, but also their employees. Both the consumer’s bill of rights and a letter grading system would go a long way toward increasing accountability and transparency in this industry, creating a better experience for all,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “I thank Borough President Diaz and Council Member Espinal for bringing attention to such an important public health issue.”
“The limited amount of oversight of cosmetology businesses throughout our State has left consumers vulnerable to a number of preventable health conditions including fungus, infections and hepatitis,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I commend Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Councilman Rafael Espinal for introducing a legislative package that will help create a safer environment for both customers and the City’s salon and nail shop workers, while we work to improve our system at the State level.”
The proposal comes in response to numerous reports of health and sanitation issues arising from dirty salons and spas. A 2013 report by Sara A. Walsh, titled “Beyond the Polish: An Examination of Hazardous Conditions in Nail Salons and Potential Solutions for the Industry in New York City,” noted that unsanitary salons can lead to a variety of hazards, including staph or MRSA, hepatitis, fungus and other infections.
Public Advocate Letitia James has also released a report, “How Safe is Your Nail Salon?,” which outlined safety hazards facing both customers and employees in nail salons, such as air quality issues created by chemicals used during manicures and pedicures, among other issues.
A draft of the “Customer’s Bill of Rights” can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/1tMikPv.