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Greening Nail Salons for Employees & Communities of Norfolk County

Project Details

Year: 2012 & 2013
Project Manager: Megan Reeve, Project Coordinator/ Sigalle Reiss, Director of the Norwood Health Department
Partners: Canton, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Norwood and Westwood


Phase I - The coalition’s goal is to raise awareness of toxic chemical exposure in nail salons, focusing on promoting safe product use and behavior. The group will host a regional conference to educate nail shop owners and workers about the health effects of toxics such as acetone, formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate and more. They will deliver free samples of less toxic alternatives during site visits to encourage owners to try, and then switch to, the safer products. 'The Norfolk County 7' towns that are participating in this project include Canton, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Norwood and Westwood.

Phase II - Built on a project that began the previous year, the Norfolk County 7 Public Health Coalition worked with hair and nail salons in the Norfolk 7 area (towns include Canton, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Norwood, Wellesley and Westwood) to implement safer practices. The project team created a “Green and Clean” certificate standard to encourage salons to make their work environments safer for employees and customers. The certificate awarded businesses that replaced toxics and improved air quality. The salon’s success was promoted through the press, advertising and social media. The project team will continue to distribute nail polish that does not contain the “toxic trio” – toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. They developed resource materials that will educate salons and help them find alternatives to hair straightening treatments that may contain formaldehyde.


Phase I - 100 nail salons throughout Norfolk County region 7 towns were visited at least twice by the project's environmental field worker.  They received an initial visit with brochures, and introduction to the project and filled out a pre-survey on their knowledge of chemicals in the environment and protective precautions. The field worker then scheduled follow up visits to test knowledge on the topics once more and also handed out 'tool kits' that included relevant information all in one convenient package.  A smaller version of the 'tool kit' was also given to building inspectors of the Norfolk County 7 towns.  60 people attended the regional conference including nail technicians, students, community members, and health directors from local departments. Gift bags were handed out with safe alternative samples and handouts on 'going green' in the workplace.  Students from Brandeis University and Boston Public Health Commission gave presentations on air quality studies in Boston salons and consequential recommendations.

Phase II - Information to be posted soon

This page updated Thursday July 19 2018