Tuesday, March 9, 2010


One of the things I advocate is for women to love themselves...this can include anything from a weekly home spa treatment or your visit to your favorite salon for a manicure/pedicure. But before your next visit to the salon you might want to consider the risk in that bottle of nail polish. Scientific studies have shown that chemicals used in many of the nail polish that do wonders for our appearance can be very harmful to our body. Conventional polish contain what has come to be called “the toxic three” - formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl-pthalate (DBP). To give you a perspective of the dangers of these chemicals I am including information obtained from a report “Glossed Over”

Toluene is a clear colorless liquid that acts as a solvent. It is found in many nail products, as it helps suspend the pigment throughout the liquid and helps form the smooth finish across the nail. Toluene is volatile and evaporates into the air as nail polish dries. Exposure to toluene can affect the central nervous system with low level symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and fatigue. Toluene is also an irritant to the eyes, nose and throat. At very high exposures, toluene has been found to be toxic to the kidneys and liver, and is a possible reproductive or developmental toxin. Toluene can be transmitted through the placenta to a fetus, and can be transmitted through breast milk. The most common route of exposure to toluene for adults is through inhalation, although dermal exposure is also possible.

Formaldehyde is an odiferous chemical commonly used in resins and as a preservative. It is found in some nail products as a nail hardener and to help create a smooth finish. Formaldehyde is an irritant to the eyes, nose and throat, and exposure can lead to coughing and wheezing. Repeated skin exposure can lead to skin irritation and an allergic rash called dermatitis. It is also a known human carcinogen.5 People are exposed to formaldehyde by breathing it in, although it can also be absorbed through the skin.

Dibutyl Phthalate
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is a chemical used in a variety of consumer products as a plasticizers. In personal care products it adds flexibility, a moisturizing sheen and helps dissolve other cosmetic ingredients. It has been commonly found in nail polish. DBP is a possible reproductive or developmental toxin. Phthalate exposure occurs through inhalation, absorption through skin and ingestion in food.

Along with these chemical there is also the harmful effects of other chemical we use in the removal of nail polish (acetone).

Since women are the majority of consumers and workers in the nail industry, it is imperative that we not only are aware of the dangers but take steps to reduce the harmful effects of exposure. With awareness will come change but you can also become your own advocate by buying non-toxic water based polish and remover. It makes no sense in investing in service designed to make you look good only over time to have it possibly contribute to a dis-ease or dis-order. I have read that it takes time and patience to get the swing of the application of the water based polish, so it is best to develop a relationship with your nail technician to ensure they are open to trying the product. Since time is a factor visiting the salon at a low peak time would also be helpful. Currently there are two companies that offer water based products one is a US based company Honeybee Gardens and the Canadian Based company Suncoat