A Toronto nail salon that breached health regulations during three straight inspections in June is the first to receive a court conviction under the city’s new online disclosure system.
The operator of Nice One Nails at 2210A Jane St. in North York pleaded guilty in court Aug. 19 for using pumice stones and wax rollers — which must be disposed of after each use to prevent the spread of bacteria — on more than one person. The salon was fined $300.
The offences at Nice One Nails were among more than a dozen logged by inspectors in 10 failed inspections out of 28 at the salon dating back to March of last year, according to Toronto Public Health data.
Repeated requests for comment at the store received no response.
Four other establishments — a tattoo shop, a therapy centre, a hair and nail salon and a spa — have also been ticketed and fined by inspectors in recent months.
The city’s BodySafe website, launched last year amid a Toronto Star/Ryerson University investigation detailing public health violations inside esthetics studios, tattoo parlours, barber shops and electrolysis clinics, now publishes the inspection histories of Toronto’s 3,000 “personal service settings.”
The Star/Ryerson investigation found that a lack of mandatory training for tattoo and piercing practitioners, along with sometimes lax enforcement against repeat offenders in Toronto, posed serious health risks.
Many of the establishments perform invasive procedures that break the skin, with risks ranging from minor skin infections to blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
On three occasions — in 2011, 2013, and again in February of this year — city heath officials asked the Ontario Health Ministry to impose a province-wide training regime for practitioners inside personal service settings. That has not happened. Toronto Public Health officials have received no response from provincial officials, a spokesperson said.
On June 17, inspectors cited the Nice One Nails salon for used pumice stones “found at every footbath station,” reads an inspection report obtained by the Star. “Pumice stones cannot be cleaned and disinfected between uses. They are single use.”
Two days later, the same inspector returned and found the same thing.
“The operator informed me that one of the girls forgot it there,” the inspection report reads. “Reminded them again, pumice stones are single-use and immediately discarded after use . . . They cannot be cleaned and disinfected between uses. This needs to be communicated to all the employees who work here.”
Pumice stones, used to scrape the skin, are rough and can cause bleeding that can lead to the spread of disease if used repeatedly on different people, says Cecilia Alterman, Toronto Public Health’s manager of infection control and infectious disease.
“If somebody has a blood-borne infection, it could remain on the pumice stone that’s used on you and you could get an infection. There’s a risk there.”
In a third straight inspection on June 23, the Nice One Nails salon was again handed a “Not Satisfactory” inspection report for re-use of a wax roller tool on more than one client.
“With waxing you have open pores on your body and perhaps some bleeding,” says Alterman. “They roll it over and over in the same area and there is a possibility of bacterial infections that could go back into the wax.”
Because of the three straight incidents, Toronto Public Health chose to take the charges to court rather than the typical approach of issuing a ticket, she said.
After a re-inspection on June 25, inspectors gave the salon a “Satisfactory” pass and the salon passed its latest inspection on Aug. 14.
Nail salons, tattoo parlours and spas are typically visited only once a year by city inspectors. Nice One Nails received far more attention from inspectors because of a combination of complaints and concerns about public safety, Alterman said.
“This place did have complaints. And I actually assign additional inspection for premises I keep my eye on. I want operators to know we’ll be in there more than once a year if you don’t comply. I think this operator has learned and will ensure his staff will follow the requirements short term personal loans.”
The BodySafe website, modelled on the city’s popular DineSafe website that logs restaurant inspections results and has dramatically increased compliance with health regulations, is already proving effective, said Alterman.
“Places that might have got a conditional pass last year are getting a pass this year. I think it will definitely have a huge impact. It’s an improvement for compliance in the future. There’s no question they have improved substantially.”
OTHER ESTABLISHMENTS ISSUED ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS:
NY NY Body Piercing and Accessories (1700 Wilson Ave.) was issued a ticket following a March 27 inspection. Inspectors allege staff “failed to properly record use of mechanical sterilizer.”
It’s the latest in a string of offences alleged by the city.
In 2011, Toronto Public Health publicly urged customers of the chain’s two locations — on Queen St. W. and Wilson Ave. — to get tested after finding improper infection control practices.
In September 2012, city inspectors issued another order against store owner Reza Sattar for again failing to produce spore tests that showed machines used to sterilize instruments were in working order, the Star/Ryerson investigation reported last year.
Sattar has denied the city’s findings in the past and continues to deny the allegations contained in the current ticket, which comes with a $150 fine.
But he says he will be pleading guilty.
“Inspectors come and they can say anything and give a ticket,” said Sattar, adding he has been in the piercing business for 14 years and has clients across the globe. “None of them are highly qualified at the health department. I could countersue them or argue, but I don’t want to argue with them anymore. I will plead guilty . . . I don’t want to fight.”
The most recent inspection on the store was satisfactory.
Rekha’s Soft Touch Spa and Hair (3351 Markham Rd.)was ticketed by Toronto Public Health inspectors after two straight unsatisfactory inspections in June.
An inspector documented health breaches on June 5, including re-use of “single-use” equipment on clients and insufficient cleaning and disinfection of footbaths.
Four days later, the spa failed inspection again for cleaning and disinfection problems and “surfaces that may be contaminated with blood/body fluids.”
The store was fined $250.
Rekha Kothari, the owner of the store for the past six years, is challenging the ticket in court.
“I think it’s unfair. That’s why I want to fight it. My customers are very happy here. How can we clean everything right away? We have a client there. I couldn’t understand.”
An inspection of the store later in June found conditions were satisfactory.
Pleasant Hair Salon and Nail (1410 Victoria Park Ave.) had two tickets issued in April totalling $600 for re-using tools improperly and not cleaning and disinfecting equipment.
“At time of inspection, no combs were disinfected between clients,” reads the April 7 inspection report. “At time of inspection no electric hair clippers were disinfected between clients … Asked operators to clean and disinfect during inspection.” Two days later, an inspector again noted hair clippers were not disinfected.
The shop pleaded guilty to the ticket charge. The shop’s owner did not respond to an interview request.
Nature Health Therapy Centre (4385 Sheppard Ave. E.) pleaded guilty to a June ticket fining it $300 for improper cleaning and disinfection and “items not in good repair.”
Along with cleaning and disinfection notes, a June 23 inspection report obtained by the Star said “some nail clippers have signs of rust.” Four days later, another inspection report notes further cleaning and disinfection issues. On July 2, inspectors again noted rust on nail clippers and said, “Removed again from use. Ensure not to use rusty implements to avoid infections.”
No comment was offered when a reporter called requesting an interview.
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