Ahh, that distinctive nail polish smell. Love it or hate it on first whiff, that odor is often due to a strong mix of artificial fragrances and a panoply of other chemicals. According to a new study from researchers at Duke University (in conjunction with the Environmental Working Group), there’s another concerning ingredient by the name of triphenyl phosphate, aka TPHP. TPHP is a suspected endocrine disruptor that is also found in plastics and as a fire retardant in foam furniture. Researchers tested the levels of TPHP in the urine of 26 women who recently painted their nails: the urine of ALL of the women showed evidence of TPHP and that the levels of TPHP increased sharply within hours after the polish was applied (some as much as seven times their original level). TPHP is actually a replacement for the phthalates that were previously used, but recent research points to the fact that this alternative is not necessarily any safer. And, unfortunately, buying brands marketed as eco-friendly doesn’t guarantee that they are TPHP-free. To make choosing a nail polish even more complicated (and alarming), although the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetics database contains a list of many products’ ingredients, some companies did not disclose TPHP. In fact, two out of the eight polishes that tested positive for TPHP in the Duke-EWG study had not listed TPHP as an ingredient. Here’s a partial list of some of the popular brands that do contain TPHP. It includes best-selling brands such as OPI, Sally Hansen and Wet N Wild.
With 97% of American girls ages 12-14 using nail products and 14% of those using them daily — not to mention all the younger girls who love getting dolled up with these seemingly innocuous nail polishes — the beauty industry needs to find healthier ingredients. Sign the petition to help these companies learn that their consumers want and demand safer products.