Salon Safety: Nail salon inspectors hindered by numbers game


A manicure and pedicure is a treat for many women, but getting an unexpected disease from the salon can be more of a nightmare.

A CBS46 investigation found that, in the entire state of Georgia, there are 12 inspectors responsible for making sure salons are clean and following state rules.

That can be a problem. Just ask Stephanie Sakoutis.

"It just seemed like a normal pedicure and about a month later at the end of April I went to take the toenail polish off and noticed there was like a whitish yellowish discoloration on the top third of my big toe", Sakoutis told CBS46.

After a visit to her dermatologist, Sakoutis was diagnosed with a toenail fungus.

"People are not always aware of it because people that go to the nail salon have their nail polish put on, they go back have it removed and on and on so they never really even see their nails. It can be months or years before they actually take a look at their nails", said Dr. Sabini, Sakoutis's dermatologist.

Inspectors face overwhelming responsibility

Kay Kendrick, a licensed master cosmetologist who heads the state cosmetology board, spoke to CBS46 about her agency and the issues it faces.

"Salons and spas where hair, skin care and nail care services are performed, we are charged with inspecting, supervising and making sure we are protecting consumers in the state," Kendrick said.

But that is not all, the state's 12 inspectors also have other jobs: namely, inspecting funeral homes and car lots.

There are more than 830 funeral homes in the state of Georgia, nearly 6,000 used car dealerships and nearly 24,000 salons and spas. That is more than 30,000 businesses to be inspected.

In order for all of the salons to be checked, it would take 30,000 inspections.

That is 2,500 inspections for each (of 12) inspectors per calendar year, which equals 261 work days, counting weekends and holidays

Each inspector would have to inspect nearly 10 businesses a day.

Kendrick admits it can be years before this new checklist is filled out by her inspectors.

Check your favorite spot

"I can't tell you why they combined them and I can't tell you why we don't have more. I can tell you that comes with the legislation and the legislators and the governing bodies," said Kendrick.

According to Kendrick, complaints are made regularly, but complaints about injuries are not made until after a salon is the subject of a lawsuit.

To stay healthy while getting pampered, check the license and inspection report when you walk in the door as they are supposed to be displayed prominently. Here's a link to the state's website to see the most recent inspections.

"Luckily, the place I go to now does have their business license clearly displayed on the wall, so you can see the current date on it. I'm definitely more careful now," said Sakoutis.

Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Anchor/Community Liaison

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