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Nail Polish Risk: Harming Unborn Boys

Adapted from the "Care2 Ask Annie" newsletter.

Simple Solution

A chemical known to harm the male reproductive system is found in many nail and cosmetic products. The plasticizer, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), causes birth defects of testicular atrophy, reduced sperm count, and defects in the structure of the penis.

Not just a powerful reproductive toxicant but causing developmental problems as well, DBP was found in every single person tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in October, 2000. The findings also showed the disturbing fact that women of childbearing age have 20 times more exposure to DBP than the rest of the population. CDC researchers speculate this is because of their higher use of cosmetics and beauty products. Whatever the cause, pregnant women are exposing their fetuses to DBP in utero.

The Environmental Working Group's (EWG) powerful new report, "Beauty Secrets: Does A Common Chemical In Nail Polish Pose Risks to Human Health?" by Jane Houlihan and Richard Wiles, names brands of 37 nail products including polishes, enamels, hardeners, and colors, that contain DBP. These include Chanel Nail Colour, Max Factor Diamond Hard Nail Enamel, Maybelline Ultimate Wear, and Oil of Olay Nail Lacquer.

The report also lists products free of DBP and toluene and formaldehyde. Types include L’Oreal Paris Jet-Set Quick Dry Nail Enamel, Revlon Nail Enamel, and Kiss Products Kiss Colors.

After finding DBP in so many cosmetic products, the EWG recommends that all pregnant women avoid all personal care products with the word phthalate on the label. To order "Beauty Secrets," with their full list of toxic and less toxic nail care products, click here.

Artificial Nails a Fire Hazard

If after reading this you are thinking of switching to artificial fingernails, beware of open flames! Long artificial fingernails are a fire hazard. In a study at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, 87 percent of the sample nails tested ignited in one second or less. All of the synthetic nails burned completely. Common ways for nails to catch on fire is from open flames such lit birthday candles, lighting cigarettes, and open gas flames on stoves or in chemistry labs.

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Disclaimer: does not warrant and shall have no liability for information provided in this newsletter or on Each individual person, fabric, or material may react differently to a particular suggested use. It is recommended that before you begin to use any formula, you read the directions carefully and test it first. Should you have any health care-related questions or concerns, please call or see your physician or other health care provider.

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