EDITORIAL: Legislature debates issue of ‘fish pedicures’

Americans spend $62 billion a year on cosmetics, hair care, skin lotions, fragrances and other products or treatments intended to enhance appearance and increase personal well-being. Some practices may seem downright disgusting — lip plumping, hair treatments with placenta or fecal matter, baldness cures that involve cow urine — but perhaps that’s all in the eye of the beholder.

Which brings us to Assembly Bill 158 in Carson City. It would legalize “fish pedicures” in Nevada. During the procedure, clients soak their feet in a tub of water full of small toothless carp that feed on calluses and dead skin. Apparently, fish pedicures have become popular in many parts of the world despite sanitary concerns of critics.

This isn’t the first time our elected officials have pondered this fishy issue. Back in 2009, state Sen. Tick Segerblom, a Las Vegas Democrat, introduced similar legislation but couldn’t even get a hearing. Last week, however, lawmakers spent more than an hour on the subject. Whether the procedure is any more effective than more traditional means of exfoliation is hardly the point. At issue is whether the regulatory state should prevent willing consumers from feeding their feet to the tiny swimmers.

“It seems odd to me we can eat raw fish, but the idea of using live fish on our feet is a concern,” said Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks. He went on to argue that government shouldn’t be involved in outlawing fish pedicures.

Now there’s an interesting thought.

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