UK investigates fish spa pedicures on health issues

LONDON Tue Mar 1, 2011 12:52pm EST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Fish spa pedicures have become a popular alternative to exfoliation in recent years but health officials say they are now investigating the pampering treatment on concerns it may spread infection.

The procedure involves customers placing their feet into a water tank filled with toothless Garra rufa fish -- also called doctor fish -- which suck the dead tissue off their feet to leave them feeling softer.

Officials at Britain's Health Protection Agency (HPA) said they were launching an investigation into possible infection risks associated with the exfoliation treatment after receiving enquiries from local environmental health officers.

The HPA said it would assess all of the latest evidence on risks before issuing guidelines for the spa treatment.

"The HPA and Health Protection Scotland is currently unaware of any cases of infection associated with the use of the fish spas pedicures in the UK," a spokesman said.

Fish spa pedicures have already been banned in some U.S. states for health and safety reasons.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin, editing by Paul Casciato)

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