Most people are familiar with the brands OPI, Essie, CND, and Sally Hansen. They have ads in almost every magazine and are even featured on some commercials. Each brand debuts a new long lasting polish about twice a year that gets girls in a frenzy. But do girls really know what affects nail polish has on their bodies other than it looking nice? Recently, society has been asking, are people doing more than just applying a pretty color to their nails when applying nail polish? Recent studies will have women thinking as to if they should keep up with their weekly manicures after reading new studies.
The nail salon industry is raising with each day. The demand for salons has created cities like New York to have one salon every 3 blocks. This has done great things for the economy but has it worsened things like health? After reading many headlines reading, “The truth about nail polish” I decided to see if nail polish has as bad as a rep that lately people have been giving it.
Nail polish contains the “toxic trio” (as researchers have named them), toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. Toluene is what creates the shinny finish that typical people love (some people have been switching to matte finish but it’s just a phase). This chemical is also used in gasoline so questions of how it affects the nervous and reproductive system have surfaced. Formaldehyde disinfects the manicure tools. and dibutyl phthalate is a major component in nail polish.
There is no question that when walking into a nail salon, the fumes you ingest are questionable. It is common for people to get headaches or pass out when being inside for too long. This is why doors and windows are usually open. With only about 10% of the chemical used in a manicure have been developed, how can it be safe to say that the workers are healthy? Nail polish workers get a starting salary of minimum wage, which is a high cost to pay for not knowing what these chemicals are doing to their health. Studies conducted by Cancer Prevention Institution of California have concluded small effects of the workers. Some have breathing problems, skin irritations and headaches. Minor effects but still prominent. Other chemicals such as TPHP affect the body once applied to the nails.
Most nail polish contains TPHP, triphenyl phosphate. This chemical is commonly used in the eco-friendly nail polishes that are supposed to be free of cancer causing chemicals. It also makes the polish more durable so it last longer, which is an appeal to most women so it is more likely for women to buy the product. It wasn’t until recently that this chemical developed theories of disordering the healthy development of cells and mimicking healthy hormones. Duke University-EWG teamed up determine if there was truth behind this theory. Their experiment required 26 women to apply nail polish that is sold at department or pharmacy stores. They also tested 10 different polishes for TPHP and 8 were positive for this chemical. It was found in Sally Hansen, OPI, and Essie. Although the study was only conducted on a small sample size, it is said to likely be widespread. They concluded that it is unaware as to if this chemical is correlated to harmful affects on the body but they do recommend reducing the amount of paint used.
Nail polish may not cause any harm to the body but does the remover? Fortunately, remover doesn’t contain any bad chemicals, just solvent. Solvent dissolves the polish, hence nail polish remover. Though solvent is extremely flammable so people should store them in room temperature. Acetone is mostly used in nail polish remover and when people hear the word, they think it is a toxin. Acetone is not a toxin it will have the same effect as over solvents on the nail.
Nail polish hasn’t had a break through of the intensive harmful affects yet or else every nail salon would have been shut down already. So ladies, keep getting your weekly manicures, just be aware of the potential effects it has on the body.