Local News

Move to ban fish pedicures

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's a bizarre beauty ritual that makes fish food of your feet. Tiny carp nibble away at dead skin on your tootsies in a tank. It's a kind of living pedicure that started in Turkey, then Asia, and finally the U.S., where some lawmakers now want the "fish pedicure" outlawed.

"This is an unsavory and unsanitary practice," Democratic State Senator Jeff Klein said.

Klein called for the ban Monday, standing outside the Ritz Nail and Spa in Astoria. Though fish pedicures weren't on the list of services offered there, they apparently used to be.

When Eyewitness News reporter Sandra Bookman asked the owner, Sun King, if he provides fish manicures, he said no.

"But some of your employees are telling us that you do," Bookman said.

"I used to at the beginning, but no more," King said.

King says he stopped offering the $30 to $50 treatment earlier this year after hearing that several other states banned it amid health concerns.

Some of his customers said the fish creeped them out.

"My fish should be in the ocean, on my plate or in a tank," Myra Morales said.

Although the senator admits figuring out just how many businesses in the city offer fish pedicures is difficult, his proposed legislation already has the support of the state department charged with inspecting nail salons.

"We're concerned with disease transmission, bacterial infections and adverse reactions," said Jack Bilello, with the NY Department of State.

Senator Klein has already introduced the legislation to ban fish pedicures. He's hoping to make the ban law before the new year.

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