MIAMI – Researchers believe most nail polishes -- even the ones claiming to be nontoxic -- are harmful to women's health and manufacturers need to come up with solutions.
Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health directed a team to test 40 popular nail polish brands for contaminants. Their findings were published in October's issue of the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Many manufacturers have stopped using dibutyl phthalate (DnBP), toluene and formaldehyde. Research found the three chemicals were associated with birth defects, obesity and cancer. Researchers said they found substitute ingredients that were also toxic.
Some of them label their products as "3-free" to let consumers know they are not using the toxic trio. Some are also marketing their products as gluten and paraben free with claims of "4-free" or "5-free." Do not let the marketing deceive you.
Researchers found some of the "nontoxic" samples had high levels of DEHP, used to replace DnBP. It is linked to "adverse reproductive health effects, impaired development and metabolic disruption." The study excluded gel polishes. They do require the use of a UV lamp, and the American Academy of Dermatology warns the exposure can damage DNA and may increase skin cancer risk.