Non-toxic nail polishes are actually toxic.
This disturbing conclusion comes from the California Department of Toxic Substance Control, which tested 12 nail products that claim to be free of formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate. These chemicals, known as the "toxic three," have been linked to an increased rate of cancer and birth defects.
At least 10 of the products contained toluene, while 5 contained a significant amount of at least one of the chemicals.
This discovery is a big deal in California, where there are 48,000 salons and 120,000 licensed nail technicians. These women work long hours and breathe in harmful chemicals, explains the Los Angeles Times. They often suffer from respiratory issues and skin conditions.
Many salon owners, such as the one interviewed by the Times, try to use non-toxic nail polishes and products to ensure worker safety. Now it seems their efforts were for nothing.
California requires labels to list all toxic chemicals, which means these nail polish companies are breaking the law. It's unclear what the state will do, but the Times suggests that regulators could ramp up oversight, look for safer alternatives and renew efforts to ensure that salons are properly ventilated.
Or the salon owners and nail technicians that use the products can just file a lawsuit.
At the very least, improperly labeling toxic nail polish as non-toxic violates the state's consumer protection laws. At the very worst, the failure to properly label the products could have contributed to worker illness, paving the way for a personal injury suit.
Whatever happens, these companies will likely no longer be able to label their toxic nail polishes as non-toxic.