A California Department of Toxic Substances Control report said about 121,000 full-time licensed nail technicians and 284,000 cosmetologists offer nail services on a part-time basis in more than 48,000 salons in the state.
A 2008 study suggested about 60 percent to 80 percent are female immigrants of Vietnamese decent and English is not their primary language. This could limit their ability to understand health risk warnings in product literature, the report said.
The report focused on three chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects: formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate. Twenty-five nail product samples were collected from six distributors in the San Francisco Bay area.
State investigators found toxic chemicals including the "toxic trio," in several nail products that had claimed to be toxic-free, the report said.