16th Annual Upton Sinclair Memorial Lecture for Outstanding EHS Investigative Reporting

Tuesday, May 24 | 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM



Unvarnished: Behind the Story That Revealed the True, Human Cost of Those Nice Nails

Presenter: Sarah Maslin Nir, The New York Times, New York, NY.

The New York Times’ blockbuster expose on the New York City nail salons revealed an industry where labor exploitation was endemic. But it also delved deeper: Through 13 months of reporting, in four languages, the author, Sarah Maslin Nir revealed a workforce plagued with health issues, where skin, eye, and respiratory ailments were commonplace among manicurists, and the specter of more grievous ailments such as miscarriages, and even cancer, loomed large. Following the publication of the two part series in May, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo instituted a new law in New York State that raised health and safety standards in salons, and reshaped the industry. The story has had wider ranging effects, with new laws being developed as far away as California, and raised a new consciousness among consumers.