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California Finds “Toxic Trio” of Birth Defect-Causing Chemicals in Mislabeled Nail Polishes

April 10, 2012 by Brett Wilkins in Health & Medicine with 0 Comments

California regulators have discovered harmful chemicals in numerous different brands of nail polishes mislabeled as free of the very toxins found in them.

According to the Associated Press, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control found that 10 to 12 products from a random selection of 25 brands contained the “toxic trio” of chemicals: toluene, dibutyl phtalate (DBP) and formaldehyde. These toxins are known to cause birth defects.

Additionally, inhalation of the “toxic trio” is linked to developmental problems, asthma and other illnesses.

The chemicals are not illegal in nail polish if the product is properly labeled. DTSC found that five of seven tested polishes labeled as free of the toxic trio actually contained those chemicals.

Regulators are worried that California’s 121,000 licensed nail cair technicians, many of whom work in poorly-ventilated salons, could be at risk from inhaling the toxins.

“We know there are exposures at salons, both to workers and customers, and we’re concerned about potential harm,” Kevin Palmer of the DTSC told the Associated Press. “Our strategy first and foremost is to shed light on the reality of what’s in these products and put this information out to everyone,” he added.

Among the mislabeled products are:  Sation 99 basecoat, Sation 53 red-pink nail color, Dare to Wear nail lacquer, Chelsea 650 Baby’s Breath Nail Lacquer, New York Summer Nail Color, Paris Spicy 298 nail lacquer, Sunshine nail lacquer, Cacie Light Free Gel Basecoat, Cacie Sun Protection Topcoat, Golden Girl Topcoat, Nail Art Top-N-Seal and High Gloss Topcoat. These polishes are not sold at retail stores.

“We are alarmed by the results of this report,” Julia Liou, co-founder of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative and a public health administrator for Asian Health Services, said in a statement. “The misbranding of products is not only a major public health problem, but also interferes with a salon worker’s right to a safe and healthy work environment.”

The California attorney general’s office says it will review DTSC’s findings before deciding on what, if any, legal action to pursue.

“We will need to examine the data for compliance with Prop. 65 and other state laws,” Lynda Gledhill, an attorney general spokeswoman told the AP, referring to the state law requiring proper labeling of all dangerous chemicals in products.

MIke Vo, vice president of Miss Professional Nail Products, Inc.– the manufacturer of Station brand products and others on the DTSC list– rejected the results of the agency’s study.

“We will look at the report and challenge it,” he told the AP.

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