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Mislabeled ‘Non-Toxic’ Polishes May Cause Birth Defects


A report by California’s Department of Substance Control sheds new light on the nail polish shade Dare to Wear’s meaning, which may keep customers paying for their choice of lacquer long after their visit to the salon. 

To-be-mamas may opt out of a weekly mani-pedi fix while pregnant or seek salons that offer non-toxic polishes in an attempt to avoid what’s known as the “toxic trio” of chemicals that are commonly found in nail polish.  However, the DTSC reported that some nail polishes found in California salons that claimed to be free of toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and formaldehyde had in fact been mislabeled and contained one or more of the agents in significant levels.  

PLUS: Toxic Baby Bottles?

Exposure to high amounts of these chemicals have been linked to developmental problems, asthma, and other illnesses that may afflict young children and grown women alike. Investigators chose 25 brands at random, including a number of products claiming to be free of the toxic trio and found that 10 of 12 products contained the harmful agents, with four of the products having dangerously high levels reports The Associated Press.

Click here for a list of polishes that were found to contain the toxins.

Investigators are taking the potential threat of exposure of these chemicals seriously, believing they pose danger not only to unsuspecting customers, but also to the 121,000 licensed nail technicians who inhale the fumes on a daily basis. 

Plus: Toxic Costume Jewelry Endangers Kids

Julia Liou, co-founder of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative and a public health administrator for Asian Health Services, was alarmed by the results of the report and declared in a statement, "The misbranding of products is not only a major public health problem, but also interferes with a salon worker's right to a safe and healthy work environment."

PLUS: Chemicals Can Harm Fertility

One distributor of many of the shades that made the list disputed the findings and plans on challenging the report.  The California attorney general's office is planning on reviewing the results before making a decision on any legal action.

How much attention do you pay to labels on nail polishes or other beauty products at salons? Did you opt for non-toxic nail polish while you were pregnant?