What’s in the stuff you have been painting on your nails once a week for 7, 8, 9, 20 years? When you take the time to look at the ingredients label, you’ll see a bunch of words that you cannot pronounce and you do not know what they are. Should you be wary of these unknown chemicals? The answer is yes, you should.
There are many ingredients in many nail polishes that are harmful in some ways, but “the big three” of them are Toluene, Formaldehyde, and DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate).
Here are excerpts from web sources on the definition and affects of these three chemicals:
“If you’ve ever been within sniffing distance of someone slathering on nail polish, then you’re more than familiar with the sickly sweet odor that can emanate from a single tiny bottle of varnish, a result of evaporating solvents wafting through the air.
“One of these chemicals is toluene, a nervous-system toxin and Volatile Organic Compound that not only helps nail polish go on smoothly and adhere evenly to the nail, but is also used as an octane booster in gasoline fuels used in internal combustion engines. In addition to causing eye irritation, headaches, dizziness, and nausea, high amounts of toluene can also lead to birth defects, developmental abnormalities, along with liver and kidney damage. In fact, studies have noted an association between toluene exposure and an increased incidence of spontaneous abortions.
“Because of concerns over the damaging health effects that toluene-as well as formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate-could pose to nail salon workers and just about every other woman on the planet, the European Union banned all three from use in cosmetics in 2004.
“No such luck in the U.S. of A.-remember, the U.S. Food and Drug Association doesn’t require that cosmetics products be tested for safety before they are sold-although some states, such as California, have instituted laws requiring companies to declare the use of compounds that appear on the state’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm.
“Tip: Toluene may appear on ingredients labels as phenylmethane, methylbenzene, or toluol.” – Direct quote from http://www.planetgreen.discovery.com.
“Formaldehyde is a carcinogen and a common indoor air pollutant because its resins are used in many construction materials. Formaldehyde has caused cancer in the nose and throats of lab animals. Inhaling the fumes can result in watery eyes, headache, burning in the throat, and labored breathing.” - Direct quote from http://www.carefair.com
“Phthalates are used to soften plastic, and are known to affect hormone function. Studies have linked phthalates to early puberty in girls and low sperm counts in men. Environmental groups claim phthalate exposure may contribute to the rising number of uterine problems in women and testicular cancer in men. It could also be one of the contributing factors to a rise in infertility in both sexes. Repeated and heavy exposure to dibutyl phthalate may cause nausea and/or vomiting, tearing of the eyes, dizziness, and headache. Long-term exposures may cause damage to kidneys and the liver. Pregnant women must consider that dibutyl phthalate may harm the developing fetus and the male testes.”
“If you have to choose a nail polish, try choosing a variety that contains the least amount of harmful toxins as possible. Always apply polish in a well ventilated area.
“For the least risk, consider an alternative to the standard manicure with nail polish. First f ile, wash, and soak your nails. Then soften, clean, and shape the cuticles. Try soaking your nails in organic apple cider vinegar or simple warm water, and apply almond oil to the cuticle area. Buff with several fine grade buffing files (always in one direction, and only on dry nails) and admire your shiny, natural manicure. Moisturize your hands, and think about all of the toxins you just avoided. Beauty does not have to be dangerous.” -Direct quote from http://www.carefair.com
Now, back to how to avoid this problem. Many companies have removed all or most of the harmful chemicals in nail polish.
One of them is Zoya, which sells nail polish free of the three above ingredients and camphor, also being a “vegan-friendly formula.” They carry an extremely wide variety of beautiful shades.
Another brand is SunCoat. Their nail polish is water based and free of Phthalates, chemical solvents, and formaldehyde. They come in 32 different shades.
To read about all of the harmful and toxic chemicals in nail polish, go to this address: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nail_polish#Constituents.