Beauty salon fined after using banned substance to apply acrylic nails
An Auckland beauty salon that used a banned, high-risk chemical on a client's nails has been fined $13,500.
Kiwi Nails & Spa appeared in the Auckland District Court for sentencing on Monday, after pleading guilty to a charge laid by WorkSafe under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act.
Health inspectors noticed an unusual solvent-like smell when they visited the company's salon in Silverdale, north Auckland, in 2016.
A subsequent visit revealed the product the salon was using to apply acrylic nails contained a substance called methyl methacrylate (MMA).
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The chemical is typically used in the manufacture of plastics because it is quick to set, cheap, and has strong bondage.
However it is banned from use in beauty products because of its "high likelihood" of harm if people were exposed to its fumes, Judge Russell Collins said on Monday.
Side effects from exposure include irritation to the skin and eyes, drowsiness, dizziness, nail damage and deformed growth of the nail, he said.
The chemical was "well-known" to be banned, Judge Collins said.
However, testing by health inspectors revealed the salon was using a product that contained 90 per cent MMA.
The company was cautioned and subsequent testing of its products showed its percentage of MMA had dipped to less than two per cent.
It was also warned for storing flammable substances in the shop, which it later removed.
The salon's sole director, shareholder and employee, Quoc Duy Phan, appeared in court on behalf of the company on Monday.
His lawyer Steve Cullen told Judge Collins it was Phan himself who was most likely to have been affected by the chemical.
"He was sitting there all day in proximity of the chemicals, while the customers came and went," Cullen told the court.
"So he was somewhat fortunate that the [inspector] picked up on this because he stood to be the person who was most poisoned."
WorkSafe prosecutor Celene O'Brien disputed that, saying both employees and customers were at risk from exposure to the chemical.
The danger was heightened by the salon's lack of extraction fan or vent, she said.
Judge Collins said it was well-known within the beauty industry that MMA shouldn't be used, and there were "ample" other products that did the same job safely.
He set a fine starting point of $20,000 but deducted $6500 for the salon's early guilty plea, its lack of previous convictions, and other mitigating factors.