Cosmetic contains chemicals linked to fertility problems and cancer, scientist warns
From Shellac to a good old_ fashioned French manicure, many of us would never leave the house without a slick of nail polish. And we increasing Visit nail salons to have our nails painted perfectly. But one scientist has warned the chemicals in nail care products contain toxic chemicals that can cause serious affect our health.
Writing for The Conversation, Dr. Thu Quach, of Stanford University and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, says exposure to these chemicals can lead to issues ranging from cancer to fertility problems
A chemical by any other name
Nail care products contain, in varying amounts, many toxic and potentially hazardous ingredients. Chemical ingredients in them range from cancer_ causing compounds such as formaldehyde to others that disrupt hormones. Researchers have identified toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate_ nicknamed the "toxic trio" because of their serious health impacts_as three chemicals of high concern for salon workers.
Toluene is a commonly used solvent that creates a smooth finish across the nails and keeps the pigment _the colour_ from separating in the bottle. But it can affect the central nervous system and cause reproductive harm. Its major use is as an additive in gasoline. Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is used as a nail_hardening agent and disinfectant for nail care tools. Exposure to dibutyl phthalate, added to polishes to provide flexibility, has been linked to reproductive problems.
In addition to this trio, there are many other harmful chemicals used in nail care products. Many nails salons lack adequate ventilation and there aren't very many ways that air inside the salon can escape outside and vice versa. This means chemicals evaporated from nail products are often trapped inside salons_and workers are continuously exposed. So workers' exposure is amplified: First, they experience direct contact with the chemicals in the products, then they continuously breathe in these chemicals within small, poorly ventilated salons.
Health effects aren't hypothetical
Nail salon workers pay a huge price in the form of their health. Exposure to nail care products with harmful chemicals can result in a number of health effects, ranging from skin irritations, eye injuries and allergic reactions. They also have thinking and memory problems, neurological symptoms, nausea, respiratory problems, cancer and uncontrollable muscle contractions to impaired reproductive and development processes.
Research studies, including my research at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, have documented acute health effects in workers. These include headaches, breathing problems and skin irritations commonly associated with overexposure to solvents used in these products. Studies have also shown that working in salons is linked to reproductive health problems, including spontaneous birth, preterm delivery, and undersized babies as well as pregnancy complications.