SOURCE: CLS Healthy Feet

July 11, 2005 20:33 ET

How Safe Is Your Manicure? -- Why Paula Abdul Is Pushing for Better Standards in Salons and What You Can Do to Get a "Clean" Manicure

BEVERLY HILLS, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 11, 2005 -- Paula Abdul recently testified in front of the California Senate Business and Professions Committee to lobby for stricter sanitation standards in nail salons. One can clearly appreciate that there is an alarming health risk spreading across the country. While "nail salon victims" are lucky to have a strong and respectful voice promoting Dr. Siegal's mission to make manicures and pedicures safe, we must realize that until the changes have solidified, the consumer must continue to take serious precautions. While you wait patiently for the government to take notice of this serious health scare, you must bring Dr. Siegal's Savvy Nail Kit to each of your nail appointments. The kit, created by Dr. Carolyn Siegal, a Beverly Hills podiatrist and attending physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, includes physician-selected nail implements and a special patent-pending liner for pedicure tubs. "It is refreshing to see affected individuals making impressive efforts to change the sanitation regulations in the cosmetic industry," explained Dr. Siegal. "We can only hope to see such changes; but in the meantime, my firm medical advice is to take your own tools and tub liners to the salon in order to reduce your risk of exposure to transmissible diseases. I have made it fashionable and fun for the consumers to take their own tools."

Many cosmetologists are not educated about disease prevention and may unintentionally put their customers at risk. An estimated 36 million people in the United States have nail fungus. Of these, only 6.2 million individuals have been diagnosed and only 2.5 million are being treated with oral medications. This leaves over 28 million people in America walking around with toenail fungus, a disease caused by an organism which thrives in warm, damp locations like the salon's pedicure tub.

Below are five tips that you can follow to protect yourself during a nail appointment:

--  Buy your own nail kit and use it for every appointment. Do not share
    any of the tools.
--  Know that Credo blades and razors are illegal and should never be
    used. A medical grade autoclave is the only way to effectively sterilize
    metal items through intense pressurized heat (this is not the same as the
    small machines with ultraviolet light).
--  Barbicide, the blue liquid used in many salons, will not kill
    hepatitis C or similar viruses because it is only a disinfectant.
--  Make sure that the license for each technician is clearly posted and
    that the salon looks sanitary.
--  Manicurists must wash their hands between clients and stations should
    be clean and dry.
--  Contact your doctor immediately if something "unusual" happens during
    your routine mani/pedi.
Siegal said that she is astonished that the Board of Cosmetology regulations are not as strong as OSHA's regulations in the medical arena. She frequently sees patients in her office who have asymptomatic hepatitis C that she treats for nail-fold lacerations (cuts) obtained during pedicures. It is alarming to acknowledge that the nipper exposed to the blood of these patients was used on many other nail salon consumers without medical grade sanitation. The thought of this serious blood-borne disease being spread to others through unsanitary salon practices is nothing short of disturbing.

She notes that doctors are required to sanitize their instruments with an autoclave, but salons are not. Also, most cosmetologists are uninformed about the "Universal Precautions": guidelines which the Center for Disease Control (CDC) set up in 1980. These strict guidelines require that medical professionals treat every patient as if they have a blood-borne disease. Siegal notes, "It would decrease everyone's risk of contracting infections and diseases if cosmetologists would practice Universal Precautions; however, most are unaware of what this would entail." In 1991, OSHA extended the Universal Precautions for police workers, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and people in related fields to prevent the spread of HIV and other diseases. People like Siegal, Paula Abdul and many others believe it is time for the salon industry to catch up and help keep people safe.

Jennifer Aniston, Lindsay Lohan and Neve Campbell have Dr. Siegal's Savvy Nail Kits, as does Los Angeles wedding planner Mindy Weiss, who purchased several as bridal party gifts. The kit retails for $49.99, and the foot tub liners, which are also being used in many salons, can be purchased at $19.99 for a ten-pack. Visit or call 1-866-500-KITS to purchase kits and tub liners or for more information.

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