Certain "Non-Toxic" Nail Polishes May Cause California Birth Defects

December 31, 1969

According to a new report issued by California's Department of Toxic Substances Control, certain nail polishes that are being used in local salons and marketed as "non-toxic" actually contain high levels of certain agents that have been linked to birth defects and other serious health issues. The mislabeled nail products could be harmful not just to the approximately 121,000 women employed at over 48,000 nail salons, but also their customers.

The three chemicals are dibutyl phthalate (DBP), chemicals toluene, and formaldehyde, and they are often referred to as the toxic trio. Exposure to them in large quantities has been linked to asthma, cancer, developmental issues, chronic health issues, and other illnesses. For example, toluene has been known to irritate the throat, eyes, and lungs, harm unborn babies, and hurt the nervous system. DBP can cause reproductive damage. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.

While it isn't illegal to use the three chemicals in nail products as long as their presence is noted on the polish label, having dangerously high levels of them in a nail product can be dangerous. It doesn't help that many salons in California have poor ventilation, which can make exposure to dangerous chemicals even worse. Think of all the manicurists who may be inhaling these fumes all day, at least five days a week.

"If you believe that you were injured by a toxic substance while on the job, you likely cannot sue your employer, but you may be able to file an Orange County, California products liability claim against a manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the product that contained or exposed the hazard to you while you were on the job," said Howard Law, PC Founder and Anaheim Personal Injury Attorney Vincent Howard.

Nail polish with toxins may not be the only danger faced by nail salon employees and their customers. Several months ago, ABC News reported that some experts are saying that using an ultraviolet nail dryer over time can increase the risk of skin cancer. According to a 2009 report found in the Archives of Dermatology, at least two cases of non-melanoma skin cancer on women's hands are being linked to use of UV nail lamps. One woman, 55, had been going to nail salons two times a month for over 15 years, while the other women, 48, had gone eight times a year for a number of years.

UV nail dryers are usually used with gel nails, but they are also used by women that use traditional polish and acrylic nails. The UV light can up the risk of wrinkles and cancer.

"Manufacturers are supposed to provide a warning if any of their products poses a potential health or injury risk to a consumer," said Anaheim Products Liability Lawyer Vincent Howard.

Calif. report reveals "non-toxic" nail polishes could cause birth defects, CBS News, April 10, 2012

California's Department of Toxic Substances Control

Do UV Nail Dryers Pose a Skin Cancer Risk, ABC News, September 26, 2011


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To schedule your free case evaluation with Orange County, California Injury Attorney Vincent Howard, contact Howard Law, PC today.