New York Times Investigation Reveals Nail Salon Workers Subjected to Health Risks

According to a recent investigation by the New York Times, nail salon workers are some of the most overworked, mistreated, and underpaid workers in New York. In addition, many of them face serious health risks due to the fumes and chemicals to which they are subjected on a daily basis.

Most of the nail salon workers interviewed during the Times investigation were immigrants from Korea or China, and occasionally Latin America, Nepal or Tibet. The Times found that some of these workers were earning a wage as little as $10 per day. $35 is considered to be very good pay by those working in the nail salon industry. In many cases, their employers even keep their tips, and offer no overtime pay. In addition to the deplorable employment working conditions employees face, many of the workers are forced to go home to over crowded and unsanitary living arrangements.

Due to the salons not being properly ventilated, many of these workers face medical ailments such as respiratory and skin issues, nose bleeds, head aches, and sore throats, in addition to the physical pain that comes from being hunched over all day, and sore hands resulting from massaging other people’s hands and scrubbing calluses from feet for hours on end. In many cases, women are not given gloves to protect their hands or proper masks to protect from inhalation. Chemicals in products used for manicures include dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde. Nail products are not regulated by the FDA and therefore, the long term health effects have not been studied by exposure to these products. Tragically, in the nail salon industry, miscarriages and birth defects are all too common among women of child bearing years as a result of being over-exposed to these toxins.

As a result of the New York Times expose, Governor Cuomo issued an emergency order to protect nail salon workers until more permanent measures can be in place. Such measures include increasing safety measures requiring protective gloves; ordering back pay for lost wages; and an educational campaign that would distribute materials in six languages about the rights, health, and safety of nail salon workers.

If you are a manicurist, or work in the cosmetics industry and have developed an illness as a result of your employment, you may be able to assert a Worker’s Compensation claim. The attorneys at McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP have experience representing clients before Workers’ Compensation boards throughout New York City and Long Island, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. For a consultation, call (866)557-7500.

Recent Survey Indicates Large Percentage of Fibromyalgia Patients Not Receiving Disability Benefits

Anyone with fibromyalgia knows how debilitating the condition is, and how difficult it is to perform job functions that you may have been able to previously. While the condition affects 5 million adults, only 25 percent are receiving disability benefits. A recent survey conducted by ProHealth.com has found that out of the 316 participants, 60% had fibromyalgia. 68% of the participants were not receiving disability benefits at all. The two most popular responses as to why the survey participants were not receiving disability were that they either felt guilty asking for it, or could not afford to be out of work for two years while awaiting approval. For those who did make claims, 75% had not involved a lawyer.

Even for those who apply for social security disability for fibromyalgia, the outcome is uncertain. The Social Security Administration issued new standards in 2012 to determine disability eligibility based on fibromyalgia symptoms. Previous to the new guidelines, a fibromyalgia claim was not necessarily viable. In determining the eligibility for a claim, the Social Security Administration will look at whether:

• There is at least a 3 month history of widespread pain
• At least 11 of the 18 tender points are found on examination
• Evidence from other disorders were excluded

The SSA also requires medical documentation for a period of 12 months prior to the application date. Documents should include medical evaluations from a physician, and possibly a psychologist. The SSA will also take into consideration evidence of a person’s day to day functioning as reflected by the statements provided by friends, neighbors, clergy, past employers, counselors, or teachers. The SSA will also have their personnel evaluate you in a multiple step process considering:

• Work history
• Severity of symptoms
• Whether the impairments meet medical criteria
• Whether you are capable of performing past work
If you are capable of doing past work, then you do not qualif
y for disability. If you are denied your claim, you may appeal. Many people have found more success with the appeals process.

Navigating through the Social Security Disability system is often frustrating and confusing. If you are experiencing the debilitating pain of fibromyalgia and can no longer work, it is best to contact an attorney who is experienced in handling such claims. Call The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP at (866)557-7500.

New Legislation Introduced Aimed at Reducing Asbestos Exposure for Workers

Last month, two senators proposed new legislation called the READ Act (Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database) which would update the 1988 Asbestos Information Act. The new legislation would require companies to continually update the database with information regarding known asbestos locations. The bill is aimed at limiting asbestos exposure and would require companies who handled products containing asbestos to update the database annually, instead of the previously required one time initial reporting.

Although new use of asbestos products has been banned in the United States, many new cases of asbestos related illnesses result from exposure from decades ago. 10,000 Americans die of asbestos exposure each year with many workers still being exposed to it on a daily basis from asbestos that still remains in many older buildings. In many cases, symptoms do not arise until years later when it may be too late for successful treatment. In a recent case, workers who removed asbestos from a courthouse in Missouri three decades ago have filed suit for medical expenses and damages.
Additionally, it is estimated that 100,000 have died, or will die, as a result of mesothelioma resulting from exposure to asbestos in shipyards alone. Similar to lung cancer, it can take sometimes up to thirty five years for symptoms of mesothelioma to surface. In addition to shipyard workers, high risk groups for mesothelioma include Navy veterans, those who have been employed at power or machinery plants, electricians, construction workers, plumbers, etc.

If you have been exposed to asbestos during your employment and are suffering from an asbestos related illness, contact an experienced Worker’s Compensation attorney who will strive to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Call the attorneys at McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP for a consultation at (866) 557-7500.