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Mass tort risks and New York nail salon chemical use.

New York nail salon employees may have read some recent reports that connect many products used in those establishments with serious health problems. Certain chemicals such as formaldehyde are used in many salon products and may be linked to medical problems such as miscarriages, respiratory disease, cancer and asthma. Past efforts to impose regulations on these potentially dangerous chemicals have been largely unsuccessful.

After the New York Times published articles related to the issue, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided to issue multiple emergency regulations in an attempt to protect the health of nail salon workers. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that he, too, would make efforts to make nail salons safer for workers. The responses from these two politicians may mean lawmakers will revisit the issue of nail salon chemicals, potentially leading to more regulations.

According to OSHA, there are 12 or more chemicals that might cause health problems for salon employees and anyone else who works closely with them. The worst chemicals are commonly referred to as the 'toxic trio" and include dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde. These three chemicals have been purportedly linked to the most severe health problems the studies warned employees about. The health problems potentially caused by the 'toxic trio" include birth defects, miscarriages, cancer, and lung and kidney failure. As a result of these health problems, several countries have either banned the chemicals outright or imposed regulations forcing products containing these chemicals to be labeled. However, no such rules exist in the United States.

Workers' compensation is a possibility for many nail salon employees who have incurred an occupational disease as a result of products containing harmful chemicals. Because the symptoms often take some time to manifest, it may be helpful to obtain the assistance of an attorney in compiling the evidence to accompany the filing of a claim for benefits.

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