Nail varnish can pose serious health risks


Dr Thu Quach, of Stanford University and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, says exposure to these components can lead to issues ranging from cancer to fertility problems.

“Nail care products contain, in varying amounts, many toxic and potentially hazardous ingredients,” she wrote in The Conversation. “Chemical ingredients in them range from cancer-causing compounds such as formaldehyde to others that disrupt hormones.”

'Nail salon workers pay a huge price in the form of their health'

Dr Quach also said that researchers have identified toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate – nicknamed the 'toxic trio' because of their serious health impacts – as three chemicals of high concern.

Toluene is what gives polish its smooth finish and stops the colour separating in the bottle. But it can reportedly affect the central nervous system and cause reproductive harm.

Meanwhile exposure to dibutyl phthalate, added to polishes to provide flexibility, has been linked to reproductive problems.

However Dr Quach’s research seems to be focused more on salon workers as opposed to an individual painting their nails every now and then in the comfort of their own home.

“Nail salon workers pay a huge price in the form of their health,” she continued. “Exposure to nail care products with harmful chemicals can result in a number of health effects, ranging from skin irritations, eye injuries and allergic reactions. 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 overexposure to solvents used in these products.”

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