West Lothian Council will not introduce a licensing regime for the burgeoning nail bar business in streets of towns and villages across the county.
But SNP councillors claimed that officers had not gone far enough in exploring the potential to control businesses.
And a Labour councillor for Bathgate highlighted complaints from his constituents about noxious fumes from nail salons seeping into residential properties above businesses.
Council lawyers began looking at the potential for licensing nail bars earlier this year following a motion raised by Bathgate SNP councillor Pauline Stafford.
Councillor Stafford argued that West Lothian had the right to licence nail bars and neighbouring authorities such as East Lothian already do require nail bar businesses to have a public entertainment licence.
However in a report to the public and community safety Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel, Audrey Watson the managing solicitor for licensing said: “It is the view of the Chief Solicitor that undertaking nail treatments is a personal service provided to individuals, similar to services such as hairdressing.
“As such it is not a service or activity which can fall within the definition of public entertainment.”
In her motion Councillor Stafford highlighted major issues from the rapid expansion of the business.
These include the use of untrained technicians and the use of a polymerising agent called methyl methacrylate, or MMA, which has been banned in the US, and other countries.
It is cheaper than safer agents and is relied upon by many businesses because it costs less and forms nail extensions faster than others enabling quicker customer turnover.
Some of the risks of using MMA can include respiratory problems, allergic reactions and damage to the nail bed.
Ms Watson said: “It’s clearly not public entertainment and my view would be that any enforcement would be open to challenge.”
Councillor Harry Cartmill told the PDSP: “I take on board everything that Audrey is saying but in Bathgate there’s a plethora of these nail bars that have sprung up in the last few years.
“I have a had a number of complaints from those living above the premises and having to deal with what they described as noxious fumes to the detriments of their health. Where are we with legislation to deal with that?”
Craig Smith from environmental health said there were existing powers to deal with the concerns raised.
“There’s statutory nuisance provision under public health legislation which can deal with that and that would be the normal process of establishing whether there is a statutory nuisance.”
Councillor Lynda Kenna said: “There’s no enforcement of protection of the public even though it’s your choice to get your nails done. I would have thought it would come under the same section as tattoos. I do not think this report has gone far enough.”
Asked by Councillor Maria MacAulay, Mr Smith said he could provide details of investigation into nail bars and visits to premises.
The paper will go to the council executive for final decision.