From Shellac to the antiquated French manicure, women would never leave the house without a slick of nail polish.

The nail salons are the most visited places today, with women lining up there to have their nails painted perfectly.

Nevertheless, one scientist has warned that nail care products hold toxic chemicals that bring on serious health problems.

Dr Thu Quach, of Stanford University and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, says exposure to these chemicals can give rise to cancer and fertility problems…


A Chemical By Any Other Name

Nail care products hold, in varying amounts, a host of dangerous ingredients.

The toxic chemical ingredients in them include: cancer-causing compounds such as formaldehyde as well as others that disrupt hormones.

Researchers have pinned down toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate – dubbed the ‘toxic trio’ owing to their serious health impacts – as three chemicals of high concern for salon workers.

Toluene is a frequently utilized solvent that produces a smooth finish across the nail and checks pigment – the colour –  from separating in the bottle.

Nonetheless, it hits the central nervous system and trigger reproductive harm.


It’s often made use of as an additive in gasoline.

Formaldehyde, a noted carcinogen, is put to use as a nail-hardening agent and disinfectant for nail care tools.

Exposure to dibutyl phthalate, used in polishes to give flexibility, has been related with reproductive problems.

Besides these three, there are a host of other harmful chemicals used in nail care products.

Most nail salons are without proper ventilation and there’s simply no way that air inside the salon can escape outside, and vice versa.

Therefore, chemicals evaporated from nail products usually get stuck inside salons – and workers are frequently exposed.

As a consequence workers’ exposure is amplified: First they come in direct contact with the chemicals in the products, & later on they incessantly breathe in these chemicals within small, poorly ventilated salons.


Health Effects Aren’t Hypothetical

For most nail salon workers exposure to nail care products takes a toll on health – the harmful chemicals in them foster damaging health effects ranging from skin irritations, eye injuries to allergic reactions.

Furthermore, they have thinking and memory problems, neurological symptoms, nausea, respiratory problems, cancer and uncontrollable muscle contractions to impaired reproductive and development processes.
New studies including research done at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, have documented acute health effects in these workers.

Some of them are headaches, breathing problems and skin irritations, usually related with overexposure to solvents used in these products.


Studies show that working in salons bring on varying reproductive health problems, like spontaneous birth, preterm delivery and undersized babies as well as pregnancy complications.

Owing to the exposures and health effects some governmental agencies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have begun investing in research and outreach to the salons.

Hundreds of salon workers and owners have shared wide ranging stories about health problems with the epidemiologists —- from chronic headaches to tragic cases of cancer and pregnancy complications.

Despite that research doesn’t always provide ultimate answers on the links between their workplace exposures and health problems, yet it’s hard to pay no attention to the patterns in these stories.