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phasing out the
“toxic Trio”
may 2009 A Report by the National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance
A Review of Popular
Nail Polish Brands
About the National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance
Founded in 2007 by the California Healthy Nail Salon
Collaborative, National Asian Pacific American Women’s
Forum and Women’s Voices for the Earth, the National
Healthy Nail Salon Alliance (the Alliance) is a network of
some 35 organizations, scientific researchers, advocates and
government agencies. The goal of the Alliance is to protect
and improve the health and welfare of women working in the
nation’snailsalons.Toachievethisgoal,theAlliancepromotes
further research on the health risks and impacts to nail salon
workers; raises the public profile of these issues through
professional media communications; provides appropriate
educationalmaterialstosalonownersandworkersaboutways
to reduce exposure; builds and maintains a clearinghouse of
information on chemicals unique to nail salons; and utilizes
the strength of the many participant groups to coordinate
advocacy projects aimed at convincing manufacturers to
reduce the use of hazardous chemical ingredients.
The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative was formed
in 2005 out of growing concern for the health and safety
of nail salon and other cosmetology workers, owners, and
consumers. The Collaborative coordinates, leverages, and
builds upon the respective expertise and activities of its
diverse members and partners to advance a preventative
environmental health and safety agenda for the nail salon
sector in California.
Founded in 1996, the National Asian Pacific American
Women’s Forum is the only national multi-issue Asian and
Pacific Islander (API) women’s advocacy organization in
the country. Their mission is to address the concerns and
increase the rights of API women and girls, and to build an API
women’s movement among those who believe in advancing
social justice and human rights.
Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) is a national
organization that engages women to advocate for the right
to live in a healthy environment. WVE leverages the power
of women’s voices to create healthy homes, workplaces,
and communities by reducing environmental hazards that
adversely impact women’s health.
Phasing Out the “Toxic Trio”
O
ver the last several years, scientific studies have shown a
correlation between health problems in nail salon workers
and daily exposure to chemicals in nail products. Three
chemicals of particular concern are toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl
phthalate, nicknamed the “toxic trio.”
Toluene helps create a smooth finish across the nail and also keeps the
pigment from separating from the liquid in the bottle. It is a common
volatile solvent that is released into the air and can impact the central
nervous system. It can also cause irritation of the eyes, throat and
lungs and is a possible reproductive toxin.1
Formaldehyde, which is
used as a nail hardening agent,
is also a volatile chemical
that can evaporate into the
air of a salon. Formaldehyde
is known to cause cancer.2
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is
a plasticizing chemical, added
to nail polishes to provide
flexibility and a moisturizing
sheen. DBP exposure can
effect thyroid function3
and,
in pregnant women, has
been linked to reproductive
problems in baby boys4
as well
as to decreased sperm count5
in
adult men.
Phasing Out the
“Toxic Trio”
A Review of Popular
Nail Polish Brands
Nail salon workers come into contact with nail care products and solvents
day in and day out, resulting in a much higher exposure to these chemicals
than the average person or customer. While research on nail salon workers is
limited, new studies provide reason for concern for this vulnerable popula-
tion. For example, an occupational health study looked at levels of phthalates
in the bodies of workers commonly exposed to these chemicals. It found that
manicurists had levels of DBP in their bodies two-times higher than that of
the general population.6
Another study looked at DBP exposure in manicur-
ists before and after a full workday. Urinary levels of DBP increased signifi-
cantly after a full work shift. The increase was even greater if the manicurist
did not wear gloves, indicating that skin absorption of phthalates is a critical
route of exposure.7
In order to provide nail salon owners, workers, and consumers with current
information on which products do not contain the “toxic trio,” the National
Healthy Nail Salon Alliance (the Alliance) surveyed popular nail product
manufacturers on whether they use these toxic chemicals in their products.
THE GOOD NEWS:
A majority of the manufacturers the Alliance surveyed
responded that their nail polishes are now “three-free,”
meaning they no longer contain toluene, formaldehyde and
dibutyl phthalate. This change appears to have occurred
in the last several years (although some companies profess
never to have used these chemicals in their products).
THE BAD NEWS:
A few of the surveyed manufacturers still use some of these toxic chemicals
(although they claim to be developing alternative formulations); and some
companies chose not to respond to the survey. Also, most companies only
provided information about their nail polishes, not their full range of nail
care products such as nail hardeners, top coats, base coats, etc.
The Alliance applauds the efforts of those companies that have
reformulated their products to remove the“toxic trio.” The removal
of toxic chemicals should lessen the harmful exposures nail salon
workers experience. There is, however, further
work to be done to ensure that alternative
chemicals are safe, and that companies
remove hazardous ingredients from all
nail salon products and solvents and not
just nail polishes. Additionally, more research is
needed to better understand the chemical exposures
nail salon workers experience, so that preventive measures

Nail salon workers come in contact
with nail products day in and day
out, allowing for a much higher
exposure to these chemicals than
the average person. While research
on nail salon workers is limited,
new studies provide reason
for concern for this vulnerable
population.
can be taken to protect their health. The nail product industry
is responsible for making products safe for both professional and
consumer use. The Alliance remains committed to ensuring that
the policies and practices of the nail product industry and the
U.S. government protect the health and safety of salon workers.
Three Ways You Can Reduce
Toxic Exposure in Nail Salons
1. Purchase nail care products that do not contain the “toxic
trio.” If your favorite salon brand of polish does not appear in
our “three-free” survey list, contact the company to determine
whether the brand contains the “toxic trio.” While cosmetics
marketed for consumer use will contain a list of ingredients on
the label, U.S. law does not require ingredient disclosure for
cosmetics marketed for salon or professional use.
2. Contact the three companies* that ignored our nail survey
request. You have a right to know if the products you’re putting on your body
contain toxic chemicals. Call or email American Manicure, Sation and Yves Saint
Laurent to find out if their nail care products contain the “toxic trio.”
American Manicure: 800-782-3555 or
Information@americanmanicure.com
Miss Professional Nail Products (maker of Sation): info@misspn.com
Yves Saint Laurent: 212-832-7100 or
www.yslbeautyus.com/i22/contact-us/information.html
Use the following script as a guide:
I’m concerned that [NAME OF COMPANY]’s nail care products might
contain the “toxic trio” because they chose not to respond to the National
Healthy Nail Salon Alliance survey. Does [NAME OF COMPANY] use
toluene (pronounced tall-you-ene), formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate
(pronounced dye-byut-ill tha-late) in its products?
3. Learn about best practices for making salons safer work places. The
Environmental Protection Agency, in collaboration with nail salons and other
partners, has created a guide with advice on topics such as safe handling and
disposal of nail products, proper ventilation and other best practices to help
workers lessen potential health risks. The guide is available online in English,
Korean and Vietnamese: www.epa.gov/opptintr/dfe/pubs/projects/salon/
index.htm
* Although Sally Hansen did not respond to the Alliance regarding their use of the“toxic trio,”
the company’s website states that their nail polish is now“three free.”
Survey Results
Methodology
The National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance developed a list of popular nail
product manufacturers through a variety of sources including industry
websites and fashion magazine “favorite picks.” The list includes both those
used professionally in salons and top retail brands. We confirmed the list
with several nail salon owners and polled them for additional suggestions of
commonly used salon brands.
Each manufacturer received a letter by certified mail
(see letter on page 8) requesting information about the
chemicals used in their nail products. The letter was
signed by 35 non-profit groups, government agencies
and individuals from across the U.S. interested in
protecting the health of nail salon workers.
Results
The following table shows the responses we received.
Seventeen of the 23 manufacturers stated that they
no longer use (or never have used) the “toxic trio” in
their nail polishes. Two manufacturers, Creative Nail
Design and Essie, stated that they still used some of
the “toxic trio” chemicals but were in the process of
reformulating. Four companies, American Manicure,
Sally Hansen, Sation and Yves Saint Laurent chose not
to respond to the letter.
Confirmed nail polish is
“three free”
Confirmed nail polish is
not yet “three free”
Did not respond to
letter
Acquarella Creative Nail Design 1
American Manicure
Butter London Essie2
Sally Hansen3
Chanel Sation
China Glaze Yves Saint Laurent
CHI
Colorpops
Lippman Collection
L’oreal USA
NailTini
OPI Products
Orly International
Rescue Beauty Lounge
Revlon
Seche
SpaRitual
Suncoat
Zoya
Survey results are self reported. Independent laboratory testing is necessary to confirm the presence or absence of the “toxic trio.”
Chart Footnotes
1 Creative Nail Design nail polish currently contains toluene. In their response
letter, Creative Nail Design clarified that their nail polish no longer contains dibutyl
phthalate (as of 2004), has never contained formaldehyde and that several new
toluene-free formulations were “in development.”
2 Essie products may still contain toluene and formaldehyde. In their response
letter, Essie clarified that their products comply with the European Union regulations
(which ban dibutyl phthalate) and that they are “responding to our customer’s
concerns and are reformulating our nail products portfolio.”
3 Although Sally Hansen did not respond to the Alliance regarding their use of the
“toxic trio,” the company’s website states that their nail polish is now “three free.”
National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance
Women’s Voices for the Earth
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative
July 15, 2008
Manufacturer
Address
City, State, Zip
Dear CEO or Lead Principal,
We are writing on behalf of thousands of concerned consumers, nail salon owners and workers,
organizations and governmental agencies interested in confirming which nail product brands no
longer contain three toxic chemicals of concern: toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate
(DBP). Your company was identified in our research as a top seller of nail polish to salons or
consumers.
As you know, these particular chemicals, often called the “toxic trio,” have received increased
public attention in the past few years. Advocates, health professionals and scientists are deeply
concerned about the potential health impacts of exposure to nail products, particularly for
nail salon workers who have exceedingly higher exposures than the general population. These
chemicals have been linked to reproductive harm, including miscarriages, infertility and birth
defects, as well as cancer.
Over the last two years, the national profile of hazardous chemicals in nail products has been
significantly expanded. For example, numerous articles have been published in major media
outlets (including the San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, New York Times and The Nation)
highlighting the concerns and symptoms associated with exposure to chemicals in nail products
reported by nail salon workers across the country. Several new major research initiatives, in
California and New York, are also underway to better understand specific health outcomes for
nail salon workers. In June, the Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine reported that
manicurists showed a statistically significant increase of dibutyl phthalate metabolites in their
urine at the end of their workday compared to the start of their day. State legislative initiatives,
such as the 2005 California Safe Cosmetics Act, serve to improve disclosure about harmful
chemicals in these products and related health risks. Finally, we are pleased to see that many
major nail product manufacturers have responded to increased public attention to these issues by
reformulating their products.
The purpose of this letter is to confirm and clarify which manufacturers have, in fact,
reformulated their products. We kindly request that you respond to the following questions
about the nail products manufactured by your company:
1) Has your company phased out the use of toluene, formaldehyde and/or DBP in your
nail polish products sold in the U.S.?
2) If so, which of your products no longer contain these chemicals? Please list by color or
date of manufacture.
3) If not, do you plan to phase these chemicals out in the future? If so, when and for
which products?
4) Has your company phased out the use of toluene, formaldehyde and/or DBP in your
nail polish products sold in other countries such as in the European Union?
Many of the organizations endorsing this request work directly with nail salon workers, owners
and customers. In this capacity, we field a growing number of questions about which products are
safe to use. We understand that your company may hold the position that nail products containing
these chemicals are safe. However, a growing body of research tells us otherwise. In addition, our
experience indicates that individuals everywhere are now looking for products which are toluene,
formaldehyde and DBP-free. We would like to confirm that the information we have about your
company’s products is accurate and up to date.
Company responses to this letter will be analyzed, compiled and made available to the media,
nail salon owners, workers and consumers. To include your company’s status in our report,
please respond in writing by August 8, 2008. Companies that fail to respond by this date will be
described as non-responsive.
Please send your written response to Alexandra Scranton, Women’s Voices for the Earth, P.O.
Box 8743, Missoula, MT 59807, or by email at alex@womenandenvironment.org
Thank you for your consideration and prompt response to this letter. If you have any questions,
feel free to contact Alexandra Scranton at 406-543-3747.
Sincerely,
Alexandra Scranton
Director of Science and Research
Women’s Voices for the Earth
Priscilla Huang
Policy and Programs Director
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
Julia Liou
Planning and Development Manager
California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative
c/o Asian Health Services
Barbara A. Brenner
Executive Director
Breast Cancer Action
Joan Sheehan
Co-President
Capital Region Action Against Breast
Cancer (CRAAB!)
Albany NY
Kathy Curtis
Policy Director
Clean New York
Patricia Huback
Coordinator
Oregon Collaborative for Healthy
Nail Salons
Joy Onasch
Lowell, MA
Christine G. Cordero
Community Health Program
Coordinator
Center for Environmental Health
Oakland, CA
Ann Blake, PhD
Environmental  Public Health
Consulting
Alameda, CA
Erin Boles
Assistant Director
Massachusetts Breast Cancer
Coalition
Lisa Archer
National Coordinator
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Eveline Shen
Executive Director
Asian Communities for
Reproductive Justice
Lynn Rose, Project Manager
Healthy Vietnamese Nail Salon
Project
Pioneer Valley Project
Springfield, MA
Laurie Foster, Project Coordinator
Nail Salon Project
Local Hazardous Waste
Management Program in King
County, Seattle, WA
Tiffany Skogstrom
Boston Public Health Commission’s
Safe Nail Salon Project
Cora Roelofs, ScD.
Research Faculty
Department of Work Environment,
University of Massachusetts
Lowell
Miliann Kang
Assistant Professor of Women’s
Studies
UMASS Amherst
Connie Nguyen
Nail salon worker
Caregiver for children whose
parents are both manicurists
Ngoc-Tram Duong
Outreach for Vietnamese Healthy
Nail Project
Environmental Coalition of South
Seattle (ECOSS)
Tina Ling
Policy Analyst
Asian Law Caucus
Secret Charles
Organizer, Toxic Beauty Project
Community Coalition for
Environmental Justice (CCEJ)
Seattle, WA
Anuja Mendiratta, M.E.S.
Principal
Philanthropic and Nonprofit
Consulting
Berkeley, CA
Thu Quach, M.P.H., PhD
Candidate
Epidemiologist
(Northern California Cancer
Center, Berkeley, CA)
Shirley Wu Chan
Belmont, CA
Jessica Huynh
UC Berkeley student
(Northern California Cancer
Center)
Romila G. Kim, MPH
Sacramento, CA
Chia-Hui Wen
San Ramon, CA
Emily Lui
Irvine, CA
Elaine Yang
Chapel Hill, NC
Tamarra Coleman-Hill
Senior Policy Associate
African American Women Evolving
Chicago, IL
Tolle Graham
MassCOSH (MA Coalition for
Occupational Safety and Health)
Hiep Chu
Executive Director
Viet-AID, Inc.
Dorchester, MA
Thu Pham
Project Coordinator
Vietnamese Health Project, Mercy
Medical Center
Springfield, MA
Donna L. Moultrup,
RN, BSN, CHO	
Director of Health
Belmont Health Department
Belmont, MA 
Laura Weinberg, President
Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition
Great Neck, NY
10
11
1 HESIS (2005)“Toluene Fact Sheet.”
Hazard Evaluation System and Information
Service. CaliforniaDepartment of Health
Services. Available at: www.dhs.ca.gov/ohb/
HESIS/toluene.htm
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry (ATSDR). 2000. Toxicological
profile for toluene. Atlanta, GA: U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services,
Public Health Service. Available at: www.
atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp56.html
2 OSHA (2002)“Formaldehyde Fact
Sheet”. Occupational Safety and Health
Administration. Available at: www.osha.
gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/
formaldehyde-factsheet.pdf
3 Huang, PC et. al. (2007) Associations
between urinary phthalate monoesters and
thyroid hormones in pregnant women.
Human Reproduction, October 2007: 22
(10): 2715-22.
4 Swan, S. et. al. (2005) Decrease in
Anogenital Distance Among Male
Infants with Prenatal Phthalate Exposure.
Environmental Health Perspectives, August
2005, 113 (8): 1056-1061.
5 Hauser, R. (2006) Altered semen quality
in relation to urinary concentrations
of phthalate monoester and oxidative
metabolites. Epidemiology, November 2006.
17 (6): 682-691.
6 Hines, CJ et. al. (2009) Urinary phthalate
metabolite concentrations among workers
in selected industries: a pilot biomonitoring
study. Annals of Occupational Hygiene,
January 2009: 53 (1): 1-17.
7 Kwapniewski R. et. al. (2008)
Occupational exposure to dibutyl phthalate
among manicurists. Journal of Occupational
and Environmental Medicine, June 2008: 50
(6): 705-11.
Endnotes
For more information about the National Healthy Nail
Salon Alliance, visit www.womenandenvironment.org
or call Women’s Voices for the Earth at 406-543-3747.

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Phasing Out the Toxic Trio - A Review of Popular Nail Polish Brands

  • 1. phasing out the “toxic Trio” may 2009 A Report by the National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance A Review of Popular Nail Polish Brands
  • 2. About the National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance Founded in 2007 by the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and Women’s Voices for the Earth, the National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance (the Alliance) is a network of some 35 organizations, scientific researchers, advocates and government agencies. The goal of the Alliance is to protect and improve the health and welfare of women working in the nation’snailsalons.Toachievethisgoal,theAlliancepromotes further research on the health risks and impacts to nail salon workers; raises the public profile of these issues through professional media communications; provides appropriate educationalmaterialstosalonownersandworkersaboutways to reduce exposure; builds and maintains a clearinghouse of information on chemicals unique to nail salons; and utilizes the strength of the many participant groups to coordinate advocacy projects aimed at convincing manufacturers to reduce the use of hazardous chemical ingredients. The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative was formed in 2005 out of growing concern for the health and safety of nail salon and other cosmetology workers, owners, and consumers. The Collaborative coordinates, leverages, and builds upon the respective expertise and activities of its diverse members and partners to advance a preventative environmental health and safety agenda for the nail salon sector in California. Founded in 1996, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum is the only national multi-issue Asian and Pacific Islander (API) women’s advocacy organization in the country. Their mission is to address the concerns and increase the rights of API women and girls, and to build an API women’s movement among those who believe in advancing social justice and human rights. Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) is a national organization that engages women to advocate for the right to live in a healthy environment. WVE leverages the power of women’s voices to create healthy homes, workplaces, and communities by reducing environmental hazards that adversely impact women’s health. Phasing Out the “Toxic Trio”
  • 3. O ver the last several years, scientific studies have shown a correlation between health problems in nail salon workers and daily exposure to chemicals in nail products. Three chemicals of particular concern are toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate, nicknamed the “toxic trio.” Toluene helps create a smooth finish across the nail and also keeps the pigment from separating from the liquid in the bottle. It is a common volatile solvent that is released into the air and can impact the central nervous system. It can also cause irritation of the eyes, throat and lungs and is a possible reproductive toxin.1 Formaldehyde, which is used as a nail hardening agent, is also a volatile chemical that can evaporate into the air of a salon. Formaldehyde is known to cause cancer.2 Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is a plasticizing chemical, added to nail polishes to provide flexibility and a moisturizing sheen. DBP exposure can effect thyroid function3 and, in pregnant women, has been linked to reproductive problems in baby boys4 as well as to decreased sperm count5 in adult men. Phasing Out the “Toxic Trio” A Review of Popular Nail Polish Brands
  • 4. Nail salon workers come into contact with nail care products and solvents day in and day out, resulting in a much higher exposure to these chemicals than the average person or customer. While research on nail salon workers is limited, new studies provide reason for concern for this vulnerable popula- tion. For example, an occupational health study looked at levels of phthalates in the bodies of workers commonly exposed to these chemicals. It found that manicurists had levels of DBP in their bodies two-times higher than that of the general population.6 Another study looked at DBP exposure in manicur- ists before and after a full workday. Urinary levels of DBP increased signifi- cantly after a full work shift. The increase was even greater if the manicurist did not wear gloves, indicating that skin absorption of phthalates is a critical route of exposure.7 In order to provide nail salon owners, workers, and consumers with current information on which products do not contain the “toxic trio,” the National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance (the Alliance) surveyed popular nail product manufacturers on whether they use these toxic chemicals in their products. THE GOOD NEWS: A majority of the manufacturers the Alliance surveyed responded that their nail polishes are now “three-free,” meaning they no longer contain toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. This change appears to have occurred in the last several years (although some companies profess never to have used these chemicals in their products). THE BAD NEWS: A few of the surveyed manufacturers still use some of these toxic chemicals (although they claim to be developing alternative formulations); and some companies chose not to respond to the survey. Also, most companies only provided information about their nail polishes, not their full range of nail care products such as nail hardeners, top coats, base coats, etc. The Alliance applauds the efforts of those companies that have reformulated their products to remove the“toxic trio.” The removal of toxic chemicals should lessen the harmful exposures nail salon workers experience. There is, however, further work to be done to ensure that alternative chemicals are safe, and that companies remove hazardous ingredients from all nail salon products and solvents and not just nail polishes. Additionally, more research is needed to better understand the chemical exposures nail salon workers experience, so that preventive measures Nail salon workers come in contact with nail products day in and day out, allowing for a much higher exposure to these chemicals than the average person. While research on nail salon workers is limited, new studies provide reason for concern for this vulnerable population.
  • 5. can be taken to protect their health. The nail product industry is responsible for making products safe for both professional and consumer use. The Alliance remains committed to ensuring that the policies and practices of the nail product industry and the U.S. government protect the health and safety of salon workers. Three Ways You Can Reduce Toxic Exposure in Nail Salons 1. Purchase nail care products that do not contain the “toxic trio.” If your favorite salon brand of polish does not appear in our “three-free” survey list, contact the company to determine whether the brand contains the “toxic trio.” While cosmetics marketed for consumer use will contain a list of ingredients on the label, U.S. law does not require ingredient disclosure for cosmetics marketed for salon or professional use. 2. Contact the three companies* that ignored our nail survey request. You have a right to know if the products you’re putting on your body contain toxic chemicals. Call or email American Manicure, Sation and Yves Saint Laurent to find out if their nail care products contain the “toxic trio.” American Manicure: 800-782-3555 or Information@americanmanicure.com Miss Professional Nail Products (maker of Sation): info@misspn.com Yves Saint Laurent: 212-832-7100 or www.yslbeautyus.com/i22/contact-us/information.html Use the following script as a guide: I’m concerned that [NAME OF COMPANY]’s nail care products might contain the “toxic trio” because they chose not to respond to the National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance survey. Does [NAME OF COMPANY] use toluene (pronounced tall-you-ene), formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (pronounced dye-byut-ill tha-late) in its products? 3. Learn about best practices for making salons safer work places. The Environmental Protection Agency, in collaboration with nail salons and other partners, has created a guide with advice on topics such as safe handling and disposal of nail products, proper ventilation and other best practices to help workers lessen potential health risks. The guide is available online in English, Korean and Vietnamese: www.epa.gov/opptintr/dfe/pubs/projects/salon/ index.htm * Although Sally Hansen did not respond to the Alliance regarding their use of the“toxic trio,” the company’s website states that their nail polish is now“three free.”
  • 6. Survey Results Methodology The National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance developed a list of popular nail product manufacturers through a variety of sources including industry websites and fashion magazine “favorite picks.” The list includes both those used professionally in salons and top retail brands. We confirmed the list with several nail salon owners and polled them for additional suggestions of commonly used salon brands. Each manufacturer received a letter by certified mail (see letter on page 8) requesting information about the chemicals used in their nail products. The letter was signed by 35 non-profit groups, government agencies and individuals from across the U.S. interested in protecting the health of nail salon workers. Results The following table shows the responses we received. Seventeen of the 23 manufacturers stated that they no longer use (or never have used) the “toxic trio” in their nail polishes. Two manufacturers, Creative Nail Design and Essie, stated that they still used some of the “toxic trio” chemicals but were in the process of reformulating. Four companies, American Manicure, Sally Hansen, Sation and Yves Saint Laurent chose not to respond to the letter.
  • 7. Confirmed nail polish is “three free” Confirmed nail polish is not yet “three free” Did not respond to letter Acquarella Creative Nail Design 1 American Manicure Butter London Essie2 Sally Hansen3 Chanel Sation China Glaze Yves Saint Laurent CHI Colorpops Lippman Collection L’oreal USA NailTini OPI Products Orly International Rescue Beauty Lounge Revlon Seche SpaRitual Suncoat Zoya Survey results are self reported. Independent laboratory testing is necessary to confirm the presence or absence of the “toxic trio.” Chart Footnotes 1 Creative Nail Design nail polish currently contains toluene. In their response letter, Creative Nail Design clarified that their nail polish no longer contains dibutyl phthalate (as of 2004), has never contained formaldehyde and that several new toluene-free formulations were “in development.” 2 Essie products may still contain toluene and formaldehyde. In their response letter, Essie clarified that their products comply with the European Union regulations (which ban dibutyl phthalate) and that they are “responding to our customer’s concerns and are reformulating our nail products portfolio.” 3 Although Sally Hansen did not respond to the Alliance regarding their use of the “toxic trio,” the company’s website states that their nail polish is now “three free.”
  • 8. National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance Women’s Voices for the Earth National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative July 15, 2008 Manufacturer Address City, State, Zip Dear CEO or Lead Principal, We are writing on behalf of thousands of concerned consumers, nail salon owners and workers, organizations and governmental agencies interested in confirming which nail product brands no longer contain three toxic chemicals of concern: toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Your company was identified in our research as a top seller of nail polish to salons or consumers. As you know, these particular chemicals, often called the “toxic trio,” have received increased public attention in the past few years. Advocates, health professionals and scientists are deeply concerned about the potential health impacts of exposure to nail products, particularly for nail salon workers who have exceedingly higher exposures than the general population. These chemicals have been linked to reproductive harm, including miscarriages, infertility and birth defects, as well as cancer. Over the last two years, the national profile of hazardous chemicals in nail products has been significantly expanded. For example, numerous articles have been published in major media outlets (including the San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, New York Times and The Nation) highlighting the concerns and symptoms associated with exposure to chemicals in nail products reported by nail salon workers across the country. Several new major research initiatives, in California and New York, are also underway to better understand specific health outcomes for nail salon workers. In June, the Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine reported that manicurists showed a statistically significant increase of dibutyl phthalate metabolites in their urine at the end of their workday compared to the start of their day. State legislative initiatives, such as the 2005 California Safe Cosmetics Act, serve to improve disclosure about harmful chemicals in these products and related health risks. Finally, we are pleased to see that many major nail product manufacturers have responded to increased public attention to these issues by reformulating their products. The purpose of this letter is to confirm and clarify which manufacturers have, in fact, reformulated their products. We kindly request that you respond to the following questions about the nail products manufactured by your company:
  • 9. 1) Has your company phased out the use of toluene, formaldehyde and/or DBP in your nail polish products sold in the U.S.? 2) If so, which of your products no longer contain these chemicals? Please list by color or date of manufacture. 3) If not, do you plan to phase these chemicals out in the future? If so, when and for which products? 4) Has your company phased out the use of toluene, formaldehyde and/or DBP in your nail polish products sold in other countries such as in the European Union? Many of the organizations endorsing this request work directly with nail salon workers, owners and customers. In this capacity, we field a growing number of questions about which products are safe to use. We understand that your company may hold the position that nail products containing these chemicals are safe. However, a growing body of research tells us otherwise. In addition, our experience indicates that individuals everywhere are now looking for products which are toluene, formaldehyde and DBP-free. We would like to confirm that the information we have about your company’s products is accurate and up to date. Company responses to this letter will be analyzed, compiled and made available to the media, nail salon owners, workers and consumers. To include your company’s status in our report, please respond in writing by August 8, 2008. Companies that fail to respond by this date will be described as non-responsive. Please send your written response to Alexandra Scranton, Women’s Voices for the Earth, P.O. Box 8743, Missoula, MT 59807, or by email at alex@womenandenvironment.org Thank you for your consideration and prompt response to this letter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Alexandra Scranton at 406-543-3747. Sincerely, Alexandra Scranton Director of Science and Research Women’s Voices for the Earth Priscilla Huang Policy and Programs Director National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Julia Liou Planning and Development Manager California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative c/o Asian Health Services Barbara A. Brenner Executive Director Breast Cancer Action Joan Sheehan Co-President Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer (CRAAB!) Albany NY Kathy Curtis Policy Director Clean New York
  • 10. Patricia Huback Coordinator Oregon Collaborative for Healthy Nail Salons Joy Onasch Lowell, MA Christine G. Cordero Community Health Program Coordinator Center for Environmental Health Oakland, CA Ann Blake, PhD Environmental Public Health Consulting Alameda, CA Erin Boles Assistant Director Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition Lisa Archer National Coordinator Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Eveline Shen Executive Director Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice Lynn Rose, Project Manager Healthy Vietnamese Nail Salon Project Pioneer Valley Project Springfield, MA Laurie Foster, Project Coordinator Nail Salon Project Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County, Seattle, WA Tiffany Skogstrom Boston Public Health Commission’s Safe Nail Salon Project Cora Roelofs, ScD. Research Faculty Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell Miliann Kang Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies UMASS Amherst Connie Nguyen Nail salon worker Caregiver for children whose parents are both manicurists Ngoc-Tram Duong Outreach for Vietnamese Healthy Nail Project Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS) Tina Ling Policy Analyst Asian Law Caucus Secret Charles Organizer, Toxic Beauty Project Community Coalition for Environmental Justice (CCEJ) Seattle, WA Anuja Mendiratta, M.E.S. Principal Philanthropic and Nonprofit Consulting Berkeley, CA Thu Quach, M.P.H., PhD Candidate Epidemiologist (Northern California Cancer Center, Berkeley, CA) Shirley Wu Chan Belmont, CA Jessica Huynh UC Berkeley student (Northern California Cancer Center) Romila G. Kim, MPH Sacramento, CA Chia-Hui Wen San Ramon, CA Emily Lui Irvine, CA Elaine Yang Chapel Hill, NC Tamarra Coleman-Hill Senior Policy Associate African American Women Evolving Chicago, IL Tolle Graham MassCOSH (MA Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health) Hiep Chu Executive Director Viet-AID, Inc. Dorchester, MA Thu Pham Project Coordinator Vietnamese Health Project, Mercy Medical Center Springfield, MA Donna L. Moultrup, RN, BSN, CHO Director of Health Belmont Health Department Belmont, MA  Laura Weinberg, President Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition Great Neck, NY 10
  • 11. 11 1 HESIS (2005)“Toluene Fact Sheet.” Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service. CaliforniaDepartment of Health Services. Available at: www.dhs.ca.gov/ohb/ HESIS/toluene.htm Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 2000. Toxicological profile for toluene. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. Available at: www. atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp56.html 2 OSHA (2002)“Formaldehyde Fact Sheet”. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Available at: www.osha. gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/ formaldehyde-factsheet.pdf 3 Huang, PC et. al. (2007) Associations between urinary phthalate monoesters and thyroid hormones in pregnant women. Human Reproduction, October 2007: 22 (10): 2715-22. 4 Swan, S. et. al. (2005) Decrease in Anogenital Distance Among Male Infants with Prenatal Phthalate Exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives, August 2005, 113 (8): 1056-1061. 5 Hauser, R. (2006) Altered semen quality in relation to urinary concentrations of phthalate monoester and oxidative metabolites. Epidemiology, November 2006. 17 (6): 682-691. 6 Hines, CJ et. al. (2009) Urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations among workers in selected industries: a pilot biomonitoring study. Annals of Occupational Hygiene, January 2009: 53 (1): 1-17. 7 Kwapniewski R. et. al. (2008) Occupational exposure to dibutyl phthalate among manicurists. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, June 2008: 50 (6): 705-11. Endnotes
  • 12. For more information about the National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance, visit www.womenandenvironment.org or call Women’s Voices for the Earth at 406-543-3747.