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Fish pedicures a threat to consumer health

There is a iconic running gag in the Peanuts comic strip showing Lucy offering psychiatric advice for 5 cents. People come to her booth telling Lucy their problems and she spouts useless advice. Well, the Assembly is about to pass Assembly Bill 154 which is the equivalent of licensing Lucy to practice psychiatry.

This bill would allow beauty shops to use the Garra rufa fish to perform removal of callouses. Now, many would scoff at the seriousness of allowing a few “guppies” to nip at your toes — until you look at this a bit closer.

The incidence of HIV, hepatitis and bacterial infections explodes in incidence in areas that this has been allowed. The risk of infection exponentially increases with immune deficient people, not to mention the risk of infection to diabetics. Specifically two high-risk organisms — Staphylococcus and Mycobacterium marinum — which can be highly debilitating have been shown to exist in high concentrations in tanks with the Garra fish. It’s not just the fish, the water in which the fish thrive on callous tissue contains numerous amounts of micro-organisms and blood borne viruses.

I urge lawmakers to vote down this bill (as has already been done in 14 other states) and allow the medical treatment of the foot and leg to stay were it belongs — with licensed doctors of podiatric medicine.

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