Salon Worker Stories

Ha Nguyen’s Story

Hello, my name is Ha Nguyen. I came to the United States from Vietnam in 1990 and live in Albany,CA. I have worked in salons for 20 years and own Amy’s Nails in Albany, CA.

When I use nail products, I have so many health problems, such as headaches, dizziness, watery eyes, coughing and runny nose. My vision has also been severely impacted – after coming into contact with so many chemicals and dust and bending over close to work on nails, my eyes became blurry and I had to have surgery to correct this in 2008. This is not happening to only me – it’s happening to workers in my salon and workers everywhere.

I am concerned about my health working in this job; I am concerned about the toxic chemicals in the products I use every day. What other health problems could I have that I don’t know about yet? How is this all connected to my work? I want to continue doing this work for a long time while also being healthy and safe. I have always enjoyed helping my customers feel pretty and good about themselves.

Through the Collaborative, I am grateful to learn about other health concerns in the community and ways to protect my own health at work. However, you also could have an important role in protecting my health and the health of hundreds of thousands of workers just like me. Please support policy that requires manufacturers to make safer nail products by removing toxic chemicals from products BEFORE they are sold to the public, so that we can work hard without worrying about our health. I hope that you hear our voices today and can help our industry be more healthy and safe. Thank you.

(Go to the next page to read Lam Le’s story)

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