Monday, November 5, 2012

How Natural is Your Nail Polish?

Considering how nauseating the experience of just walking past a nail salon can be, it shouldn't be surprising that nail polishes and removers usual contain toxins. What is surprising is that many nail products marketed as "natural" also contain known toxins.

This Spring investigators with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control found dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde, commonly called “the toxic trio,” present in several of 25 randomly chosen nail polishes that claimed to be natural.

What's so bad about these three chemicals? Dibutyl phthalate, also known as DBP, causes a number of birth defects in lab animals, primarily in male offspring. These defects include testicular atrophy, reduced sperm count, and abnormalities in the structure of the penis. Even low levels of toluene can, if inhaled, cause nausea, memory and hearing loss and weakness. Formaldehyde is labeled a known human carcinogen by the World Health Organization and exposure to it damages lung tissue and can cause asthma. (Info excerpted from an Environmental Working Group report.)

Frugivore recently reported on "5 Toxic-Free Nail Polishes for Healthy Style." Have you tried any?

Nail polish isn't something I use or think about often. As I am always working with my hands, polish seems to stay chip-free for only a day or two at most. Also nail painting seems like a complete waste of time, money, and body burden points. LOL!

Still, sometimes I paint my toe nails because they are seriously gnarly. When I do I use Priti polish, which I discovered while working at Sustainable NYC. The brand has great colors. Plus, I am in love with their nail polish remover. It's absolutely non-drying. In fact, it leaves my nails feeling healthier! I only wish it didn't contain fragrance.

Priti polish in "Baby Toes Cactus." I love this color! Tip: It's on sale because it's discontinued!

I've heard good things from parents about Piggy Paint too. It's marketed to kids and claims to be free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, Bisphenol A, ethyl acetate and acetone. I'm not sure why the website acts like only girls use it. I've seen several little boys flip out over nail polish! Why can't they have fun too?

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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