Depending on what you find, you may want to switch nail polish brands.
Research from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Duke University suggests that wearing nail polish for 10 to 14 hours can have unexpected (and unwanted) side effects.
The study involved 26 volunteers who applied nail polish and then went about their daily routine. After 10 to 14 hours, the researchers tested and found triphenyl phosphate (TPHB) in each participant. What’s more, a press release accompanying the study notes that “the detection of the chemical in women’s urine spiked after nail polish application.”
“Importantly, two of the eight polishes that tested positive for TPHP were not identified on the product label,” the press release said. “The Duke researchers chose not to publicly release the names of these two polishes and six other polishes that contained TPHP, and the lab only tested 10 samples, not the entire range of manufacturers’ nail products.”
The study authors also speculated that before the study was released, some manufacturers might change their labels to report the presence of TPHB.
So, why might this be a big deal?
TPHB is a plasticizer used to make products more flexible. In the case of nail polish, premature cracking can be prevented.
Several studies have shown that TPHB alters the endocrine system of animals and the hormonal and reproductive systems of humans. Some scientists worry that the chemical may increase the risk of certain diseases.
In addition, some studies show an association between TPHB and weight gain. It affects the body’s metabolism and increases the risk of obesity.
Nail polish manufacturers have recently started using TPHB as a replacement for another dangerous chemical, dibutyl phthalate (DBP). DPB has been linked to problems with the reproductive system, and manufacturers tend to avoid it, along with other chemicals in the phthalate class.
The press release also notes that TPHB is used in fire-resistant foam cushioning for furniture.
In general, the chemicals in nail polish cannot penetrate the body through the nails. According to the researchers, other ingredients in nail polish weaken the nail, allowing harmful chemicals like TPHB to penetrate the surface.
In total, about 1,500 or 3,000 products in EWG’s database use the chemical. Of course, this study used a very small sample of participants, and further research is needed to determine whether the chemicals actually pose a serious health hazard.
“These results suggest that nail polish may be an important contributor to short-term TPHP exposure,” the study said. “For regular nail polish users, TPHP exposure may be a long-term hazard.”
However, this is alarming news for all those who use concealer or at least one of the formulated concealers. EWG publishes a list of brands and manufacturers that use TPHP.