The immense variety of nail lacquers and polishes make it hard to choose the perfect product! Whether you want to strengthen brittle nails, lengthen short nails, or just add a little color to your fingers and toes – there is a vast arsenal of products in an infinite palate of hues to satisfy every fancy. However, do not be fooled by the seemingly innocent contents of that small, brightly colored bottle. Did you know that the chemicals in nail polish are potentially hazardous for your health?
The dangers of nail polish are directly correlated with the chemicals used in their manufacture. Most nail polishes are chock-full of a variety of harmful substances. The major toxic compounds that you need to watch out for are toluene and dibutyl phthalate.
Toluene is a clear fluid that is a component of many products: gasoline, paints, shoe polish, and even explosives! This compound allows t the nail polish to stay in its liquid form in the bottle and is responsible for the rapid drying of the nail polish when on your nails. Toluene is bad for your health because it affects your nervous system causing nausea, headaches, and depression. In addition, toluene induces kidney and liver damage as well as eye, nose and throat irritation. It has even been implicated in the development of cancer!
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is a chemical that is used as a binder to improve the endurance of nail polish when applied to your nails. This is the substance that allows plastic ware its flexible properties. Women of child-bearing age are being asked to avoid DBP because it has been linked to cancer in laboratory rats and the disruption of hormone levels in humans. In addition, this compound may play a role in childhood asthma, lasting fertility problems in newborn boys, and liver toxicity.
Besides toluene and DBP, compounds such as ethyl alcohol, formaldehyde, and glycol ethers are potential toxins found in nail polish as well! Why are these chemicals so bad?
Ethyl alcohol – irritant of mucous membranes and suppresses the activity of the central nervous system.
Formaldehyde – neurotoxin that has produced cancer in certain laboratory rats
Glycol ethers – substance that has been associated with birth defects in animals, lower sperm counts in human males whose mothers were exposed to low levels, and higher than normal rates of miscarriage with increased exposure
Take the time to find a product that is DBP and toluene-free! There’s no point in taking an unnecessary risk just to keep those toes colorful!
If you're using nail polish to hide unsightly nails, come into Beverly Hills Foot and Ankle, P.A. to see how we can work together to solve the issue. Call the office today at (352) 513-4867 to book your appointment! Want to know more about a particular topic or have a suggestion for a blog idea, post your comments right here!
About the Author
Dr. Nisha Krishnan is the President of Beverly Hills Foot and Ankle, P.A. She specializes in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and offers a full-range of foot, ankle and lower leg services.