Council to consider regulating nail salon hygiene

Council to consider regulating nail salon hygiene

A nail artist gives a pedicure in a Wellington salon. Photo by Kate Green.

The Wellington City Council will consider submissions on proposed regulation of the nail salon industry, and vote on proposed amendments to its public health bylaw this June.

The council is proposing amendments to the Local Public Health Bylaw 2008, which regulates swimming pools and food retailers, after a Regional Public Health survey on infection-control procedures in nail salons was released last month.

The report concluded that, “There is both a need and interest within the industry, for education and resources to be provided regarding infection control practices in nail and beauty salons that provide nail treatments.”

Fungal and viral infections, like Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, HIV, and skin infections like tinea and athlete’s foot were risks for clients if nail equipment was not adequately cleaned, the report said.

Chief executive of PodiatryNZ Jennifer Pelvin said, “There is an urgent need for national standards to be implemented.”

“Currently local bylaws are a hit-and-miss affair that often look at regulating the business while overlooking the need for training and registration of those providing services.”

City councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, holder of the city safety portfolio, said the survey of 27 Wellington salons “raises public health concerns about their premises and operations.”

“We all deserve to be confident that the nail and beauty services we use are safe and hygienic,” she said.

The study showed most salons supported regulation to improve industry standards, and the public were also keen on better regulations and education.

Jade Lancaster, 22, was surprised the risks were so high. Catching blood-borne viruses “was not something I was even aware was a problem!” she said. “I’ve always seen it as akin to a hair salon, and I’d never be concerned about catching Hep C from a hair salon”.

She said she would be more likely to choose a nail salon which advertised meeting regulated hygiene standards over one which did not, and would be willing to pay more for it “I usually pay $50 for my nail appointments, and would pay $60 for certainty about hygiene – so an extra 20%.”

“If it were any more expensive than that and I’d seen research about a real risk then I’d stop bothering to get my nails done altogether.”

Rachel Moore, 21, said she caught infections which developed into cellulitis on three separate occasions from Wellington nail salons. “It’s really serious!”

She was prescribed antibiotics by her doctor. “You spend all this money on this nice pedicure to treat yourself, then you have to go to the doctor and spend $60 on this problem!”

She didn’t think she was alone. “My nurse says she sees so many young girls coming in with infections from cheap nail salons.”

She said she would ‘definitely’ be more likely to choose a salon that advertised meeting hygiene standards over one that did not. “I would feel a lot safer if there were regulations around cleanliness.”

Public consultation opened last month and will run until 5pm, 24 May. Council will consider submissions and vote on the proposed amendments in June, and decide whether a bylaw is necessary for the industry.

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Article by Kate Green

About Author Student reporter for Miramar area and specialist subject reporter for disability news. Graduate of Victoria University of Wellington in film, media, and English literature. Owner of two guinea-pigs, and too many books.


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Article by Kate Green

About Author Student reporter for Miramar area and specialist subject reporter for disability news. Graduate of Victoria University of Wellington in film, media, and English literature. Owner of two guinea-pigs, and too many books.


View Profile
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