The POLISH (Participatory Research, Organizing and Leadership Initiative for Safety and Health) project brings together youth and nail salon workers to learn about and organize on toxins in personal care products. Women and girls are exposed to hazardous chemicals on a consumer level through their personal care products, and on an occupational level through work in the beauty care industry. The beauty care industry in the U.S. generates $52.7 billion a year. But lacking FDA regulation, thus far only 11% of over 10,500 ingredients in personal care products have been tested for safety*. Some of the toxins in beauty products are endocrine disruptors, which interfere with the normal functioning of hormones, and all are associated with reproductive, developmental and other health problems.
POLISH is an exciting multi-year project that combines popular education and community-based participatory research with leadership development and community organizing. This project is a member of the California Healthy Nails Collaborative and is part of a national wave of organizing to bring attention, accountability and institutional change to this issue.
* “Skin Deep Executive Summary.” Study released June 2004 by Environmental Working Group. 3 October 2005.