Whilst Australians should not deter from using nail polish altogether, it pays to be informed of the latest research.

The Duke University and EWG (Environmental Working Group) co-authored a study on the toxins traced in nail polish.

They conducted a sample of over two dozen women to use popular nail polish brands.

Every single woman showed traces of toxins in their bodies in as little as 10 hours after applying it.

Accurately speaking, researchers tested every women’s urine for a chemical called diphenyl phosphate (DPHP), which is created when the body metabolises the chemical Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP).

These alarming findings incurred a follow-up study by the same researchers, who tested ten different nail polishes for TPHP.

What were the alarming findings?

  • TPHP was found in 8 OUT OF 10 nail polish brands tested.
  • 2 of 8 polishes that were tested positive with Triphenyl Phosphate DID NOT DISCLOSE its presence on the ingredients label.
  • Clear nail polishes generally contained more TPHP than coloured polishes

The Duke researchers decided not to publicly name the brands that tested positive for TPHP. They disclosed that the lab tested only 10 samples, not the manufacturers’ entire nail products lines. They also anticipated that the two manufacturers that didn’t include TPHP on the ingredients label would update their product label before the study was published.

What is TPHP?

Whilst most studies of TPHP have observed its effects on cells and animals, TPHP is known to disrupt the human endocrine system, which controls all hormones in the body.

It poses serious health risks to anyone uses it, as it’s known for inducing: neurotoxin (development affects); endocrine toxin; reproductive toxin; skin irritant and allergen.

Head researcher, Dr Heather Stapleton, expressed her concerns in that, “There is growing evidence suggesting that TPHP may affect hormone regulation, metabolism, reproduction and development.”

Young girls who use nail polish regularly may be at the greatest risk of harmful affects, since healthy hormonal development is critical to their growth.

Animal studies showed the potential harmful affects of TPHP, where it caused reproductive and development irregularities.

TPHP is also used in plastics manufacturing and as a fire retardant in foam furniture.

Why is TPHP in Nail Polish?

The EWG claimed that “nail polish manufactures may have turned to TPHP as a replacement plasticizer for dibutyl phthalate, or DBP”, which was added to nail polish for greater flexibility.

If a nail polish brand claims to be have long-lasting and flexible properties, it’s worth investigating the ingredients.

Be Aware of these Chemicals in Nail Polish

  • Formaldehyde is a carcinogen that can dissolve in water and air, which is that strong nail polish smell everyone knows. Exposure can produce symptoms of a scratchy throat, asthma and difficulty in breathing. People with chronic diseases are more vulnerable to poisoning from Formaldehyde.
  • Toluene has the potential to cause birth defects or reproductive harm. However, nail manufacturers strongly argue that the amount of Toluene in nail polish is so small it poses no health risks.
  • Dibutyl Phthalate may be swapped by TPHP by some nail polish brands, but it’s no better for a person’s health. It poses similar health problems such as hormonal disruption and reproductive system toxins.

What’s the alternative? All-natural.

Australians can enjoy the beautiful look of nail polish by choosing natural alternatives. These companies have created natural polishes that remove the same risks of allergies, cancer, and hormone disruption – and they are affordable!

  1. Honeybee Gardens carries a line of natural, water-based nail polish in a wide variety of colours. They contain absolutely no traces of dangerous chemicals or carcinogens.
  2. Acquarella has a selection of over 50+ nail polish colours. They are all water-based and don’t contain any formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, mercury, or wheat products.
  3. SpaRitual is a brand of nail polish that’s vegan and free of DBP, toluene, camphor, formaldehyde and formaldehyde resin.
  4. Peacekeeper Cause-Metics manufacturers nail polishes infused with argan oil and are toxin-free. They also claim to make a classic coloured nail polish that keeps your nails moisturized.