Things to Consider Before Receiving Your Next Nail Care

By: Sara Kim

Edited By: Sharon E. Chin


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 Even the federal law that regulates cosmetics safety, written in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, is outdated and based on standards appropriated 75 years ago.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: 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: Date accessed 5/24/15.

Photo Credit: Nicole Bengiveno/ The New York Times.


Cancer Survivors Belly Dancing Together

By: Kristine Alarcon

belly dancinc

In Charlottesville, Virginia, women cancer survivors are belly dancing together at the My Body Raqs class. The belly dancing class was created specifically for cancer survivors to help them cope with movement through gentle dance. Any cancer survivor is welcome after treatment and diagnosis as no dance experience is required and the class is free.

Jenner LaFleur is the program director and a two-time breast cancer survivor. During her recovery from her surgery after chemotherapy, radiation, and mastectomy, she hoped to combine her experience with cancer and her passion for dance. LaFleur hoped to restore confidence and strength in survivors and ultimately help them feel more like themselves again.

The first series of the My Body Raqs class is from May 7-June 25. There other sessions planned from September-October and January-February.

Kristine Alarcon graduated at the University of San Francisco with a Bachelors of Science in Biology. She is working towards certification in Sterile Processing and Distribution. She is a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes Magazine.


“Cancer Survivor Helping Other Survivors Recover with Dance.” NBC 29. Retrieved on May 9, 2015.

Photo Credit: (NBC29)

Trauma Screening: Creating a Norm in Healthcare

By: Kristine Alarcon

Edited By: Sharon E. Chin


Traumatic experiences, whether it is domestic violence or childhood abuse, have a serious effect on the mental and physical health of a person. A research team at UCSF is pushing towards making it a norm in primary care to screen for these issues.

It is important that health care providers understand patients’ traumas and its effects, as well as find ways to make them comfortable and safe. This can make the patients more comfortable about asking for help and speaking about their experiences. If patients continue to keep traumatic experiences to themselves, there may be consequences both physically and mentally. A patient may develop substance abuse and mental health problems as a way to cope with their pain if it is not released. The stress that is involved with those activities and from the traumatic experiences can lead to even more unhealthy activities and biological problems as well.

The best way to screen for traumatic experiences is by creating a welcoming and safe environment. It would not only include the doctors, but also other medical staff such as physician assistants, nurses, and receptionists.

Receptionists are the first to welcome a patient as they walk into an office, so it is important that they are friendly and respectful.

During check-ups, physicians should not only be asking about physical activities such as exercise, drinking, and smoking, but also about any indicators of trauma that is ongoing or has occurred in the past. They should not lecture them on their lack of control when quitting smoking or weight gain, but explain how they develop these harmful habits and ask if there are traumatic occurrences in their lives. Additionally, they should not press on the issue if the patient does not choose to disclose that information. The same goes for other medical staff members.

Then, if the patient decides to share information about their past and current lives, next steps would include a referral for the patient to therapy or other resources available.

Kristine Alarcon is a senior at the University of San Francisco working towards a Bachelors of Science in Biology. She is a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes Magazine.


Allday, Erin. “UCSF team: trauma screening should be standard in health care” SF Gate. Retrieved on May 9, 2015.

Photo Credit:

(Hafalia, Liz) The Chronicle


Account of a Child Pornography Victim in Iowa

By: Sara Kim

Edited by: Sharon E. Chin



Sex trafficking is a silent crime where the voices of victims are not often heard. In order to combat the silence, Linda chose to speak out about her own experiences as a sex trafficking victim. Linda, whose name has been changed for safety reasons, had been trafficked for 14 years in Iowa where she was forced into filming child pornography films. Linda and her twin sister were raised by her traffickers, and were told that their mother died during childbirth. She never had a real sense of family, nor did she have people to protect her from the abuse she faced everyday.

Linda’s earliest memories were of her being raped, which occurred when she was two years old. Some men took her into a bathroom and filmed her having sex with them. Ever since then she had been raped continuously and filmed for child pornography without her consent. She even helped the perpetrators traffic other children; her worst memory was watching babies get raped for porn.

The Chrysalis Foundation is an organization that seeks to give a voice to trafficking victims in Iowa. The foundation works with Clear Channel to raise billboards informing the public about the reality and the dangers of sex trafficking. They also aim to persuade their audience to write to state and federal lawmakers, asking them for more support with law enforcement training about sex trafficking and in punishing the perpetrators. Terry Hernandez of the Chrysalis Foundation points out that people, and especially those in law enforcement, do not recognize the magnitude of the crime. Linda agrees with the statement from the perspective of a victim, as she says, “I think that that’s the real tragedy of trafficking. You have to live with this your whole life and the people who do it just walk away.

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

Reference: Brilbeck, Aaron. “Victim of Iowa Sex Trafficking Speaks Out.” Who TV. May 15, 2015. URL: Date accessed 5/17/15.

Photo Credit: Ausburn, Deborah.


Festival Season May Draw Traffickers to Big Cities

By: Charmaine Santos

Edited By: Sharon E. Chin

spring break

Human trafficking is a looming problem facing many large cities across America. Due to the increased amount of tourism and business gatherings that occur when big cities hold huge annual events, human traffickers hope to capitalize on them; pimps are inconspicuously targeting their next victim in a large crowd. More than half of documented victims identified by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) were American Citizens.

Kay Butterfield, chief officer of the Ethics Advisory Panel for an artificial intelligence company named Lucid, stated that big festivals or parties like the Super Bowl where large groups of men gather will attract a large number of prostitutes, although many young women are forced against their will to attend. Austin, Texas holds the “South by Southwest” every year and is also one of many hotspots in Texas for human trafficking. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, in 2014 there were 709 human trafficking-related cases, 609 reported victims and 176 suspects arrested. Even local residents were shocked to see that human trafficking existed within their “seemingly safe communities”.

Butterfield suggests that sex slavery is enabled by American culture; there is an absence of value for women and children. She says, “I hope that we value children in America but maybe we need to have a different attitude towards women . . . there are some cultural things that we need to begin to change.”

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.

Lillard, M., & Eads, A. (2015). “Big Festivals, other events increase human trafficking activity in cities.” Hilltop Views. Retrieved May 16, 2015 from

National Human Trafficking Resource Center. (2015). Hotline Statistics were retrieved on May 16, 2015 from
Photo Credit: (Rukes)