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Nails | More Scaremongering Emerges About The 'Toxic Trio'

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The Ed.

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Let's get a little perspective on this issue. This week, a report has emerged from California stating that a handful of companies who have declared their polishes as being free from the 'toxic trio' - toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and formaldehyde - actually aren't free and do contain one or more of these chemicals.

Let's face it - it's made for great headlines. My personal favourite is the straight-to-the-point, entirely inaccurate: Some Supposedly 'Non-Toxic' Nail Polish Might Kill You, After All. Frankly, you've probably got more chance of the polish bottle growing arms and hands, picking up a knife and stabbing you in the middle of the night. Almost every beauty website is talking about it, the beauty community on Twitter are tweeting about it and some, a handful, are actually trying to get the real story across. At it's worst, this is a story about mislabeling and misleading customers. It's not a story about dangerous practice or putting nail professionals or consumers at risk.

Doug Schoon, a seasoned veteran in all aspects of Research and Product Development, Product Quality, Packaging, Labeling, Ingredient Safety, Consumer Testing and Cosmetics Registrations/Regulations, and a man whose job it is to make sure companies get all this stuff right (not those companies in question, I should add), says, "Basically, this is an issue of a few small companies mislabeling their products and has nothing to do with safety of the products. They are trying to pretend it is, but the EU allows up to 25% toluene in nail polish."

The chemicals that make up the 'toxic trio' have the potential to be harmful in large quantities. No doubt about it. It is, however, not illegal to use these chemicals in nail polish because the quantities are, and always have been, deemed completely safe. If they were that dangerous in those quantities, as Doug Schoon suggests, you can bet your ass that the FDA and the European Union would have already made it illegal to include them at all.

Before issues first arose regarding the potential harmful qualities of these chemicals (when almost every polish contained the 'toxic trio') you, me, your children and every nail technician in the world had been using them for years and years. I'm certain nail technicians got headaches and maybe even complained of breathing difficulties - they still do - but surely that's as much about ventilation, sanitation, stress and working hours, not to mention the myriad of other chemicals that nail professionals work with daily? Many professionals in all walks of life work with chemicals every single day and there's always a safe and a not-so-safe way of doing it.

Quite simply, most of the companies found to be dishonest about their ingredients were doing so in amounts so small that, as the Professional Beauty Association’s (PBA) Nail Manufacturers Council (NMC) says, "Manufacturers with very low levels of DBP or toluene (e.g., less than seven hundredths of one percent (700 PPM) did not likely intentionally add such ingredients to their formulas (and may not have an obligation to declare them) since such ingredients at such low levels have limited added functionality beyond other ingredients already in the formula." In other words, at such small levels and in conjunction with other ingredients, there would be no point in companies purposely adding these chemicals as they would have minimal, if any, benefit to the behaviour of the final product.

There's all sorts of questions as well about the nature of the Department of Toxic Substances Control's survey of working salon professionals. Questions such as "Do you have headaches or do you know others who work in salons that have headaches?" are without doubt leading and as the NMC states, "These studies are non-scientific surveys conducted or sponsored by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) reporting responses to leading questions asked of participants...Such self-directed or self-reported studies are notoriously unreliable. The levels of the ingredients of concern in salons are actually very low and there are no data to suggest that the over thirty-year history of the nail salon industry presents any significant health risk for nail technicians."

That aside, there's no doubt that the hoo-haa over these three chemicals have caused the nail industry to largely transform itself and the majority of companies comply to the guidelines and laws set out in the United States and the European Union. Cheaper brands still use the these chemicals, the only difference is that most don't pretend not to...and, as Shakespeare would say, 'therein lies the rub'.

Yes, some polishes contain these three chemicals and yes, they absolutely shouldn't say they don't when they do. Are they demonic companies designing products that will 'kill' you? No. Is your life and that of your children at risk? No. Should they be declaring the inclusion of these chemicals on their labels? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Let's stop the scaremongering and the manipulation of the fear factor. The media loves to tell us we're going to die from some new danger. Whether it's escalators, parabens or nail polish...let's be discerning and research it for ourselves. Read all the information. Make your own decision and then go out and buy whatever nail polish you want to.

It won't kill you.

Until then...geek on.

The Ed.
 

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deanosnana

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This was reported on my local news, this a.m. Frankly, I'm sick of the scaremongering, when there is so much more to worry about in this world than nail polish!
 

geeg

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Absolutely! Maybe there is jealousy that the nail and beauty industry are thriving so well in the present DIRE American economy and in other countries where there are financial challenges!!

You know? If something is at the top ... Well let's attack and destroy it. The nail market is thriving ..... Subsequently attacks on UV lamp safety, polish ingredients ... What next? Monomer? Hand sanitisers? Oh! My word! Come to think of it hand sanitisers pose a great risk with the amount of toxic alcohol in them ... We all know that in large amounts alcohol is very toxic !! Better stop cleaning our hands!

So much rubbish spouted and so many ready to jump on the bandwagon and believe everything they read! Dangerous.

Good article Ed! X
 

mum

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Here we go again! More 'smoke and mirrors' to sell products and write a horror story!

The non-scientific study mentioned that asks about headaches!!?? Did it ask who gets headaches from concentrating on such a small area all day?? No. Did it ask if looking down for long hours gives anyone muscle tension headache? No. Did it ask who gets headaches when not working or after a night out? No.

I believe the most relevant point of all this is the fact that every single chemical (and, by the way, the air we breathe and water we drink are chemicals) has a danger level when entering the body in some way. The 'toxic' chemicals bleated about in nail polishes are in such minute quantities it would take "ingesting 5 bottles a day" (Doug Schoon) for a long time before they started to do harm. The other ingredients would 'get you' a lot faster! Walking down the street with all the pollution is FAR more dangerous! The writers of these scaremongering articles don't do their homework but, if they did, I expect the results would be ignored as they would have no 'story'!

Professionals do need to take care though. They work with all the 'toxins' for far longer periods but that is why there are very clear health & safety rules that should always be known, understood and followed!
 

jojosnails

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Absolutely! Maybe there is jealousy that the nail and beauty industry are thriving so well in the present DIRE American economy and in other countries where there are financial challenges!!

You know? If something is at the top ... Well let's attack and destroy it. The nail market is thriving ..... Subsequently attacks on UV lamp safety, polish ingredients ... What next? Monomer? Hand sanitisers? Oh! My word! Come to think of it hand sanitisers pose a great risk with the amount of toxic alcohol in them ... We all know that in large amounts alcohol is very toxic !! Better stop cleaning our hands!

So much rubbish spouted and so many ready to jump on the bandwagon and believe everything they read! Dangerous.

Good article Ed! X
Well said!
 

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