A fresh manicure may make you feel like a million bucks, but a growing number of studies show that the chemicals used to make nails strong and beautiful cause serious health problems, especially among the female manicurists who work with the products every day.
According to The New York Times, in addition to respiratory and skin problems, some of the chemicals used by manicurists have been linked to reproductive problems, including abnormal fetal development and miscarriages.
Queens, N.Y., physician Dr. Charles Hwu said he sees otherwise healthy female patients exhibiting “breathing problems, some symptoms similar to an allergy, and also asthma symptoms — they cannot breathe.”
“Judging from the symptoms with these women, it seems that they are either smokers, secondhand smokers or asthma patients, but they are none of the above. They work for nail salons,” he added.
Nail polish often contains a “toxic trio” of chemicals: formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalates.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen linked to cancers of the nasal cavity and leukemia. In nail salons, it’s used to harden nails and to disinfect tools.
Toluene can affect the central nervous system and cause reproductive problems. In nail salons, it’s used to create smooth nails and to keep color from separating in bottles.
Dibutyl phthalates, which are used to keep polish from getting brittle, are suspected endocrine disrupters and are linked to reproductive problems.
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