New York Rolls out Pilot LED Lamp Project to Monitor Air Quality at Nail Salons

Pegasus Capital Advisors

In 2015, Pegasus Capital Advisors committed to catalyzing healthier working conditions and improved air quality in New York City’s nail salons. An issue largely overlooked, nail polish contains many volatile organic compounds which permeate the air and are health hazards for workers and customers alike. Pegasus and its partner, Lighting Science Group (LSG), have developed the Genesis Light, a desktop light that monitors and reports on air quality wirelessly using a sensor chip embedded in the lamp. It uses easy to read emoticons on the units, as well as transmits data that will be accessible online. Empowering salon workers and customers, Pegasus, LSG, and partner the NYC Public Advocate will deploy 50 free Genesis Lights to nail salons that they identify in hopes that the pilot program will inspire customers and regulators to make informed decisions that will ultimately incentivize a continuing domino effect in nail salons to better manage their air quality.

Commitment Improving Air Quality and Occupational Health in NYC Nail Salons
Launched 2015
Estimated Duration 1 Year
Estimated Total Value $23,000
Region Northern America
Countries  United States 
Commitment by Pegasus Capital Advisors 
Partners Lighting Science Group, Public Advocate for the City of New York



Pegasus and its partner Lighting Science Group have developed the Genesis Light, a desktop light that monitors and reports on air quality using a sensor chip embedded in the lamp. The Genesis Light is visually pleasing, energy efficient, and can communicate with mobile devices through an app that was also designed by Lighting Science Group.

The Genesis Light reports a simple graphic at the lamp itself for air quality: positive emoticon for clean air and negative emoticon for poor air quality, which is based on key indicators like formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds. These indicators will be reported on a central dashboard hosted by the Public Advocates office or other remote headquarters and will be accessible online.

Genesis Light by Lighting Science Group. (Photo Courtesy of Oscar Hidalgo.)

Following Pegasus’ research and outreach, approximately 35 nail salons will voluntarily agree to receive one or two free Genesis Lights in this pilot program. It is expected that consumers will naturally be attracted to nail salons participating in this program, incentivizing other nail salons to join.

Pegasus envisions the process will be similar to other measurement standards, in which a voluntary program becomes the industry standard. In addition, if the voluntary program is a success for nail salon workers and customers, the City could mandate similar reporting from all nail salons.

The Genesis Light program will begin in October of 2015 with the design and hosting the dashboard reporting process. During that time the Public Advocate and Pegasus will also begin outreach to potential participating nail salons, a process to continue throughout the Commitment.

In January of 2016, the Genesis Light pilot program will begin the implementation of units in a total of 35 nail salons, which will be done in three-month increments throughout 2016.

Between January and March 10-12 initial nail salons will be equipped with Genesis Light units. The NYC Public Advocate will then report on the pilot program’s progress in late March of 2016 before expanding the program in April.

The pilot program will then expand by providing an additional 10-12 nail salons with Genesis Light units from April to June of 2016, followed by the final 10-12 salons from July to September.

For more info on Lighting Science's Genesis Lights please click here.


Nail salons are a seven billion dollar industry in the U.S. However, the chemicals used in many nail salons contain numerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) shown to be toxic and harmful to human health. These VOCs can be controlled with proper ventilation systems, but many facilities lack such systems or do not properly maintain them. Studies by the NYC Public Advocate, as well as other government and non-profit entities, show that air quality is often poor and dangerous and results in adverse health effects for workers and expecting mothers and their unborn children. A North Carolina study found that cosmetologists working with chemicals including formaldehyde (which is found in some nail polish and other products) experienced an increase in spontaneous abortions. Additional studies have found that the workers in these salons are often women who are recent immigrants, and unable to be effective advocates for the health and safety of their workplace.

Nail salons’ air quality also affects their customers. If customers and progressive business owners could visually monitor air quality, they would be equipped to address it. For example, in 2014 the State of New York had 27 inspectors to address health and safety concerns in over 5,000 salons statewide. After a successful advocacy campaign by the Public Advocate, the number of inspectors was increased and the Governor mandated new safety rules in salons. Technology could also be an effective means to strengthen businesses while ensuring safety and health awareness in salons. Pegasus and its partner, Lighting Science Group, envision businesses achieving improved air quality by using LED-lamp integrated remote sensors that measure and communicate both visually in salons and to a central data repository key air quality indicators.

Partnership Opportunities

Pegasus and LSG are seeking a technology partner to help develop the program’s hosting and reporting dashboard.
The NYC Public Advocate seeks media partners to help promote the pilot program to potential nail salon participants.

LSG will provide 50 initial Genesis Light units to interested nail salons. Pegasus will provide information on best filtration and HVAC products to pilot participants. NYC Public Advocate will provide media and outreach support.

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