Our Work


Federal Policies

Federal Regulation

  • Removing the Topcoat: Understanding Federal Oversight of Nail Salons, May 2011. This NAPAWF report identifies the federal agencies responsible for ensuring the safety of cosmetic products, protecting the environment, and ensuring the health and safety of nail salon workers and consumers. By identifying the role and authority of each agency as well as where there are gaps in oversight, this report provides a roadmap for advocates wishing to seek administrative solutions to improve the health and safety of salons and their workers.                                                                                                                                                              
  • National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance's Recommendation for Federal Agencies, May 2011. This document includes a set of recommendations that the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance has developed for addressing the concerns facing the nation’s salon workers, as well as some key questions that we have for the relevant federal agencies. We encourage our members to incorporate these recommendations as part of your administrative advocacy efforts!


  • The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) (15 U.S.C. § 2601, enacted in 1976) provides the Environmental Protection Agency with the authority to regulate certain chemical substances.  However, cosmetics are excluded from regulation under TSCA.  The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Campaign calls for TSCA reform that would dramatically reduce exposure to formaldehyde, require manufacturers to provide basic information about chemicals used by workers and the health hazards associated with them, and call for the articulation of a health standard that protects the most vulnerable, such as pregnant women and/or workers.   Reform efforts also call for inverting the burden of proof currently in place with respect to chemical safety: now, chemicals are presumed safe until proven otherwise; reform would mean that manufacturers are required to prove their products are safe before sale or distribution.  Finally, reform efforts would require better coordination between the EPA and other government agencies that have jurisdiction over chemicals, such as the FDA, which could improve the overall health and safety of nail salon workers, as they typically work with a variety of different chemicals, regulated by different entities, on a daily basis.


  • The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1409, S. 560, introduced in 2009) would establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations.  EFCA includes provisions to streamline the union certification process, facilitate initial collective bargaining agreements, and strengthen the enforcement power of the National Labor Relations Board against employers who violate provisions of the National Labor Relations Act.  Allowing nail salon workers to freely choose collective bargaining could improve the lives of workers and their families, as union workers are more likely to have employer-based health insurance and earn more than nonunion workers.
  • The Protecting America’s Workers Act (H.R. 2067, introduced in 2009) would expand the coverage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, create stricter penalties for employer violations, and strengthen whistleblower protections.  Under PAWA, employers will not be able to delay improvements to workplace safety when violations are reported.
  • The Safe Cosmetics Act (H.R. 2359, introduced in 2011) would phase out toxic ingredients from cosmetic products, close labeling loopholes, improve protections for vulnerable populations including nail salon workers, pregnant women and children, and increase FDA authority over the cosmetic manufacturing industry.