Can Nail Polish Make You Ill?

An irresistible rainbow of colors will make your nails shine.

But, could your nail polish make you sick?

The Environmental Working Group, a consumer advocacy organization, claims it can. "Yes, it has been linked to health issues," explains environmental researcher, Hong-Chang Liang. He also says chemicals found in nail polish have been linked to a wide array of health problems, ranging from simple headaches to reproductive birth defects in baby boys.

"Toluene has been found in low enough concentrations to cause reproductive harm to babies to the development of their neurons."
The EWG claims the health risks from most brands of nail polish sold in the US come from two powerful chemicals: Dibutyl Phthalate, or DBP, and Toluene.

"It's added to gasoline to boost the octane, and it's used in paint, in glues, it's used in a lot of different things," says Liang. "Diabutyl phthalate is a plastizer. It's placed in nail polish to make the nail polish less brittle and more flexible."

Natural food stores sell nail polish that is Toluene and DBP free.

Some cosmetic companies, like Estee Lauder, are starting to do the same.

But, dermatologist Victor Ross says wearing nail polish will not hurt you. "It is quite difficult to get things through the nail. They would have to go all the way through the nail plate which is fairly hard."

And the US Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association says nail polish is safe.

They have released this statement: "Consumers can have confidence in their cosmetics given their oversight by the FDA and a long history of safe use."

Europe has banned nail polish that contains DBP.

But, the Centers for Disease Control and the world health organization say you should not worry about the effect nail polish has on your health.

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