Green News & Events

New Toxic Nail Polish Chemicals Identified

The myth of polish is that your nails are barriers to the toxic chemicals they contain. But then there is the evidence. Like health problems salon workers endure because of toxic exposures. Or so-called “big three free” nail polish exposed to contain hidden toxic chemicals. Now add TPHP and DPHP to the mix. These toxic nail polish chemicals were recently discovered in a new toxic nail polish chemical biomonitoring study conducted by Duke University and the Environmental Working Group. The results aren’t pretty, but there’s something you can do about it.

Researchers instructed a group of women to test their nails with popular polishes like Sally Hansen and OPI. Less than 14 hours later, they found all of the women had high levels of triphenyl phosphate and diphenyl phosphate–better known as TPHP and DPHP, respectively–in their bodies.

Why is this a problem? These toxic nail polish ingredients are suspected endocrine disruptors, linked to obesity, reproductive problems and even cancer. Scarier still is the connection between endocrine disruptors and early onset puberty–a risk factor for breast cancer–and the fact that 97% of American girls ages 12 to 14 use nail products, including polish, and that 14% of this group use them daily.

According to EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database, more than 1,500 nail polishes–including popular brands like Sally Hansen, OPI and Wet N Wild–contain these toxic nail polish chemicals, some that don’t even list them as ingredients on labels.

What can you do? Switch to safer water-based polishes, which are ranked a low “1” on Skin Deep. I love Suncoat’s affordable $15 nail trios in purple, blue and clear or cranberry, ballerina pink and clear, which make it easy to try a water polish swap.

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