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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

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Study Shows 'Non-Toxic' Nail Polishes to be Toxic

New study finds toxins in "non-toxic" nail polishes.

Certain nail polishes that advertise to be free of toxins have  been shown to have high levels of dangerous chemicals that are linked to birth defects, according to a study released Tuesday.

(Photo courtesy of Facebook)
(Photo courtesy of Facebook)

The Department of Toxic Substances Control investigated 25 random nail polish brands that are commonly found in California salons finding the majority of them were mislabeled.

The polishes that claimed to be free of the "toxic trio"--tolune, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and formaldehyde--actually contained these chemicals, which have been connected with developmental problems, asthma and other illnesses.

The study found that 10 of 12 products that advertised as being free of toluene actually contained the chemical, and four of those nail polishes have dangerously high levels.

The report also said that five of seven products that claimed to be free of the toxics actually included one or more of the toxins.

Among the polishes tested the the study found to be mislabeled were: Sation 99 basecoat, Sation 53 red-pink nail color, Dare to Wear Nail Lacquer, Chelsea 650 Baby's Breath Nail Lacquer, New York Sumer Nail Color, Paris Spicy 298 nail lacquer, Sunshine Nail Lacquer, Cacie Light Free Gel Basecoat, Cacie Sun Protection Topcoat, Golden Girl Topcoat, Nail Art Top-N-Seal and High Gloss Topcoat.

The DTSC said that it did not have enough data to accurately estimate how many people were being exposed to the chemicals through the products.

Researchers did find that the 121,000 licensed nail care technicians who work in the salons--many of them young Asian-American women--are most at risk.

The European Union has already taken steps to regulate these toxic chemicals by banning DBP in nail products and limiting the amount of formaldehyde and toluene that can be used.

While the use of the "toxic trio" in nail polishes is not illegal, DTSC officials said the false claims on labels may be, but the final decision will be made by the state attorney general's office.

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