Women pamper themselves with manicures and pedicures for special occasions or even just for everyday wear. Unfortunately, this product causes more than admiring glances. Regular commercial polish is full of dangerous chemicals that pose serious health threats to humans. Different brands of the products can include different ingredients.
One of the ingredients in nail polish is formaldehyde. This chemical is used for its preservative qualities. However, formaldehyde can cause dangerous health effects. Exposure to the chemical can cause wheezing, coughing and irritation to the throat. Formaldehyde is also harmful when it comes into direct contact with skin. Skin irritation and rashes occur from exposure to this chemical.
The FDA concludes that formaldehyde may cause allergic reactions. This is most likely to occur if the polish touches the skin, according to the FDA. Most allergic reactions are skin rashes known as dermatitis, but excessive exposure to formaldehyde could increase the risk of asthma.
Dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, is used in nail polish to provide a moisturizing sheen and to prevent chipping, notes the FDA. Exposure to dibutyl phthalate can affect thyroid function, and has been linked to reproductive problems in baby boys when pregnant women are exposed to the chemical, according to the National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance. Compared to men, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that women were found to have higher amounts of the type of phthalate used in cosmetics.
Ethyl acetate and butyl acetate are acetones often used as solvents in nail polishes. It’s believed that prolonged exposure to the fumes of these chemicals can lead to problems with the heart, lungs and liver. Ethyl acetate and butyl acetate are used in nail polishes because they help the polish harden and dry quickly.
Toluene(108-88-3) is a chemical used in nail polish. It is a clear and colorless liquid used to make dyes and paints. It is also used for paint thinners and explosives. It’s a dangerous chemical that causes birth defects in animals, affects the central nervous system and is fatal if swallowed. It should be noted that the FDA evaluated the health effects of toluene in 2005 and deemed it safe for consumers.
Phthalates are easily absorbed chemicals that keep nail polish chip-free. The European Union has banned them, but they’re legal in the United States. Extended exposure to DBPs can cause immediate effects like nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness. However, there are also long-term consequences in exposure to this chemical such as kidney and liver damage. Pregnant women are warned about birth defects cause by Dibutyl Phthalates.