Things to Consider Before Receiving Your Next Nail Care

By: Sara Kim

Edited By: Sharon E. Chin

nails

Research results by the Department of Toxic Substances Control for the California Environmental Protection Agency have revealed several significant health hazards caused by chemicals used in nail and beauty products. Nail salon workers have the highest risk, as they are exposed to fumes from nail polish lacquer for long periods of time; their exposure to acrylics and other strong chemicals make them notorious for their susceptibility to respiratory and skin problems. These workers commonly show asthma-like symptoms and experience pain when touching cold or hot objects. Also common ailments shared among female nail salon workers include a tendency to have miscarriages or give birth to children with physical and/or cognitive impairments. Some studies even suggest that there are carcinogens in nail products.

Unfortunately, research in the field of nail care products is vague, as not enough studies have been conducted with the accuracy needed to draw firm conclusions. Hence, it is difficult to confidently declare the exact degree to which chemicals in nail products threaten the health of salon workers. Even the federal law that regulates cosmetics safety, written in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, is outdated and based on standards appropriated 75 years ago. On top of that, efforts to review these standards have been continuously dismantled by the Personal Care Products Council lobbying the review panel. Although many workplace safety officials agree about the dire situation for nail salon workers, not much action has been taken to actually improve the work environment. In fact, because many of these workers are immigrants who are either unaware of their rights or too scared to stand up for themselves, it makes it easier for employers to engage in unfair labor practices and abuse the workers for their labor.

The question you may ask at this point is: how, then, can I receive nail care ethnically? In “How to get an ethical manicure: a guide to spotting worker exploitation,” Dara Lind lists some things to consider before walking into a nail salon. First, it is important to understand the difference between exploitation and trafficking. Exploitation occurs when the workers are unfairly treated, whether through hazardous working environments or low pay. On the other hand, labor trafficking is defined by workers who are forced into jobs without their consent and do not receive compensation for their work. When such situations are spotted, report for help accordingly, either to your state’s Department of Labor for worker exploitation or to the National Human Trafficking Hotline for trafficking. Lind also suggests straightforwardly asking store owners how they distribute their money, as the owners would gladly share the information if they are not guilty. Lind also suggests understanding that there may be language barriers before making any judgments and promoting businesses you know frequent.

Sara (Da Som) Kim is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes.

Reference: Nir, Sarah Maslin. “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers.”  New York Times. May 8, 2015. URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/11/nyregion/nail-salon-workers-in-nyc-face-hazardous-chemicals.html?_r=0. Date accessed 5/24/15.

Lind, Dara. “How to get an ethical manicure: a guide to spotting worker exploitation.”  Vox Health Care. May 8, 2015. URL: http://www.vox.com/2015/5/8/8573425/manicure-worker-pay. Date accessed 5/24/15.

Photo Credit: Nicole Bengiveno/ The New York Times.

[http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/12/nyregion/sarah-maslin-nir-times-journalist-answers-readers-questions-on-nail-salons.html]

Filipina Maid Shows a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

By: Sara Kim

Edited by: Sharon E. Chin

hk domestic

Xyza Cruz Bacani has been working as a maid in Hong Kong for over a decade in order to provide for her younger siblings’ education. Domestic service is not uncommon in this city, as it houses around 330,000 workers in the field. Most of these maids are foreigners coming from poorer countries, such as the Philippines or Indonesia, in hopes of earning enough money to support their families back home.

However, what makes Bacani noteworthy are her photographs, which publicize what she calls “modern slavery” in the domestic sector of Hong Kong. Bacani mentions that she was lucky enough to work under a nice boss, who even helped to enter her photographs into the Magnum Program. Through the program, Bacani was able to earn a scholarship to study at New York University. Bacani’s black and white photographs speak of the abuse experienced by foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, who receive very little pay for terrible working conditions. Many maids in Hong Kong are expected to work up to 19 hours a day, while not receiving proper care. Many others are even beaten and/or neglected when hurt.

By publicizing the abuse through her photographs, Bacani hopes to empower other victims and bring attention to their situation. Because many victims dread the chance of deportation or becoming fired, they are hesitant to expose the exploitations they experience. Even the Chinese government’s policies, which outline the minimum wage and accommodations migrant workers should receive, are not effective, as many domestic employers do not abide by them. However, Bacani’s efforts to help the victims have been successful in stirring up awareness about the situation that has oftentimes been ignored. Bacani describes her future aims by saying that she hopes her work can “change people’s perspective on domestic workers and help end this modern slavery.”

Sara (Da Som) Kim is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes.

Reference: Batha, Emma. “Filipina maid photographs “modern slavery” in Hong Kong”.

Daily Mail. May 25, 2015. URL: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3096645/Filipina-maid-photographs-modern-slavery-Hong-Kong.html. Date accessed 5/27/15.

Photo Credit: Xyza Cruz Bacani

[http://blog.grainedephotographe.com/incroyables-photos-employee-maison-devenue-street-photographe

Film Director Creates High School Curriculum For Child Sex Trafficking

By: Charmaine Santos

Edited by: Sharon E. Chin

 nest foundation

A film director named Libby Spears founded a Los Angeles based non-profit called The Nest Foundation, where students and policymakers gather together to discuss solutions aimed to end child trafficking and sexual exploitation. Spears had previously filmed a documentary about child trafficking in the Portland area, which led her to develop a curriculum for students to teach them about the scope and prevalence of the problem. The curriculum is being taught in 10th grade health classes at Madison High School and David Douglas High School as part of a pilot program. This includes student discussions with Portland police, the district attorney, county commissioners, and others regarding child sex trafficking. 

Spears tells KOIN 6 News that the best way to prevent this epidemic of child exploitation is by educating kids about the subject before it may happen to them; teens must be given the tools to recognize pimps and pimp recruitment tactics. 

While developing the curriculum, students from Madison High School were crucial to its development. Spears shared with KOIN 6 News, “It’s critical to hear from youth because those are the people we’re trying to protect. So we need to listen to be more effective at our jobs.”

Charmaine Santos is a sophomore at the University of San Francisco pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Biology as well as minors in Chemistry and Health Studies. She volunteers alongside UCSF medical students at a student-run homeless clinic in San Francisco and is also an active volunteer with Operation Access. Charmaine is also a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes Magazine.

Reference: 

Frazier, A. (2015, May 26). “Health Class Teaches Teens Sex Trafficking Signs.” LIN Television Corporation. Retrieved May 27, 2015 from http://koin.com/2015/05/26/madison-hs-to-hold-sex-trafficking-discussion/

Photo Credit: (Getty Images) http://www.zimbio.com/Libby+Spears/pictures/pro

An Artist Finds A Way To Open The Conversation About Human Trafficking

By: Charmaine Santos

Edited by: Sharon E. Chin

2015_MollyGochman_RedSandDay_b_150

Molly Gochman, a Texas-born New York based artist, has fused art and activism together to open up the conversation about human trafficking. Her “Red Sand Project” uses a theme of cracks to represent the U.S.- Mexico border to illustrate the vulnerability that plague many trafficking victims. Gochman interviewed with The Untitled Magazine about her project and human trafficking.

Gochman confided that she took a break from her art in order to learn about human trafficking and figure out how she can be of use to preventing it. She decided to base her large-scale public project in Houston because it is known to be a hub for trafficking. Gochman says, “I thought it would be a great city to kind of put my roots down as far as a land art instillation.”

The shape of the land art instillation is like the shape of the border between the United States and Mexico. While on her break, she noticed that cracks are often overlooked, though they are vulnerable places that we see all the time. Similarly, victims of human trafficking are vulnerable and often overlooked, even when they are in plain sight. She invited the community to participate by putting the final layer of bright red sand on top. Gochman explains that the layers of sand are at the same level as the grass in the area so someone driving by won’t notice the bright red line that is there, just like how human trafficking is hiding in plain sight.

Charmaine Santos is a sophomore at the University of San Francisco pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Biology as well as minors in Chemistry and Health Studies. She volunteers alongside UCSF medical students at a student-run homeless clinic in San Francisco and is also an active volunteer with Operation Access. Charmaine is also a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes Magazine.

Reference:

Jones, A. (2015, May 4). “Socially Responsible Art—The Red Sand Project—Interview With Artist Molly Gochman.” The Untitled Magazine. Retrieved May 20, 2015 from http://untitled-magazine.com/socially-responsible-art/

Photo Credit: (Molly Gochman) http://untitled-magazine.com/socially-responsible-art/