A new report by California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has found significant amounts of one or more of the chemicals formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) in polishes that had been labeled “toxic-free.”

The three chemicals have been dubbed the “toxic trio,” considering exposure to them has been linked to birth defects, developmental problems, asthma and other illnesses. In fact, DBP was banned from cosmetics in Europe in 2003 — although formaldehyde and toluene can can still be used in small amounts in beauty products there.

According to The Los Angeles Times, out of the 25 US nail care products that the DTSC sampled, 12 claimed to be free of at least one “toxic-trio” chemical — although out of these ten contained toluene and four contained DBP.

“It is just disheartening, distressing and disturbing as a consumer and a regulator,” said Debbie Raphael, director of the department.

Raphael said the results were surprising and showed that the state needs to work more closely with manufacturers to ensure that labels are accurate, and with regulators to determine whether there are safer alternatives for consumers and workers. “The question that we want to engage industry in is, is it necessary to use these chemicals?” she said.

The report follows the US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report in February claiming lipsticks from many high street brands were contaminated with lead.

Many in the nail industry are distraught with these finding because of the massive effort of nail salons to rid themselves of toxic nail polishes. Additionally, this new report can potentially prove that nail polish manufactures are maliciously disregarding the health of nail technicians and customers alike.

The LA Times is reporting that this summer, San Francisco will begin formally recognizing salons that use toxic-free products. Hopefully, all states, counties, and cities will follow suit.


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