San Francisco, CA, United States (AHN) – State regulators in California have found some nail polishes frequently found in the state’s salons and advertised as free of a “toxic trio” of chemicals actually have high levels of agents linked to birth defects.
The Department of Toxic Substances Control released a report Tuesday that found the “mislabeled” nail products have the potential to harm thousands of workers and their customers in salons across the Golden State.
For the study, investigators randomly chose 25 brands of polishes that are available exclusively at nail salons, including a number of products that claim to be free of the chemicals toluene, dibutyl phthalate and formaldehyde, dubbed the toxic trio. Exposure to large amounts of the chemicals has been linked to developmental problems, asthma and other ailments.
If labeled properly, use of the three chemicals in nail products is legal. But false claims may violate a state law that requires disclosure of harmful chemicals in consumer products, agency officials said.
Among the finding, 10 of 12 products that claimed to be free of toluene actually contained it, with four of the tested polished containing seriously high levels. In addition, the report revealed that five of seven products that claimed to be “free of the toxic three” included one or more of the agents in major levels.
The agency said that salons are often poorly ventilated, leading to exposure to a number of harmful chemicals when inhaled. The 121,000 licensed nail care technician who work in the salons, most of them young Asian-American women, are most are risk.
As a result of these workplace health issues, several cities across the U.S. have passed laws to increase the safety for workers and customers at salons.
In October 2010, San Francisco passed an ordinance that provides a “green seal” to salons that voluntarily choose to use nail polishes free of the toxic trio.
The California attorney general’s office said it will have to review the findings before making a decision on any legal action.