by Samantha Semoso – EM TV Online
Today’s fashion trends have made nailpolish a “thing” many women would never leave the house without; a slick splash of nailpolish. Others go as far as visiting salons just to get their nails done perfectly.
Dr Thu Quach, an Epidemiologist from Stanford University and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, says:
“Nail care products contain toxic and potentially hazardous chemicals that can cause serious effects to the body.”
Researchers have identified that the ingredients contained in the chemicals made of nail polish are toxic. These ingredients are Toluene, Formaldehyde and Dibutyl Phthalate – nicknamed the ‘Toxic Trio’ because of their serious health impacts.
The ‘toxic trio ‘are chemicals of concern, as exposure to these can damage the nervous system and hormones. They have been linked with illnesses like cancer and fertility problems. Other harmful chemicals are also used in nail products. Toluene is a commonly used solvent that creates a smooth finish across the nail and keeps the colour from separating in the bottle. Its major use is an additive to gasoline. But it can affect the nervous system and cause reproductive harm.
Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is used as a nail-hardening agent and disinfectant for nail care tools. Exposure to Dibutyl phthalate, which is added to polishes to provide flexibility, has been linked to reproductive problems.
Nail salon workers are consequently paying a huge price for their health.
“Many nail salons lack adequate ventilation, which means workers’ exposure is amplified from the trapped chemicals evaporated from nail polish products,” Says Dr Quach.
He also said:
“Research studies, including my research at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, have documented acute health effects in these workers. These include headaches, breathing problems and skin irritations, commonly associated with over exposure to solvents used in these products.”
There are other health effects such as thinking and memory problems, neurological symptoms, nausea, respiratory problems, cancer and uncontrollable muscle contractions to impaired reproductive and development processes.
“As an Epidemiologist, I have conducted multiple research studies to examine workplace exposures and health effects for nail salon workers. Many salon workers and owners have shared their personal stories of health problems, ranging from chronic headaches to tragic cases of cancer and pregnancy complications.
“These health exposures and health effects are enough to lead some government agencies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to invest in research and outreach to the salons. While research doesn’t always provide definite answers on the links between their workplace exposures and health problems, it’s hard to ignore the patterns in these stories,” said Dr Thu Quach.