Safer Nail Polish
My daughter is hoping to be pregnant soon, and I am worried about her using nail polish since I heard it is unhealthy for fetuses. Are there any that are safe?
My daughter and I have faced the challenge of finding healthy nail polish–what I will allow her to use, and why, and her response–and the good news is that this stress between us has finally lessened because of some great new products. Here is a mother/daughter blog we wrote about this:
Annie (the mom)
In the summer I look with envy at women with peach-colored toe nails and a tan, or ruby-red toe nail polish with black sandals. I know nail polish is bad for everyone (see “Getting It,” below), but my sense of fashion makes me want to compromise my standards despite the environment, if only I could tolerate it. Maybe it is my own yearning that made me be gentle with Lily’s desire to wear nail polish instead of just saying no: she has been in love with it since she was three. I allowed her to use it within parameters, which were far from ideal for her! Fortunately some much safer products have since come onto the market for her to use.
Lily (the daughter)
When I think of nail polish, words like “pretty” or “stylish” donít pop into my head right off the bat. When I think of nail polish, I think ďwhat a dragĒ and go check the temperature outside. One thing that has been severely lacking from my youth and teenage years is the excitement of painting my nails. Sure, I do it. But in order to paint my nails, I have to do it outside and then wait until they are completely dry before venturing back indoors. This isnít so bad during the summer. But what am I supposed to do when the temperature drops below 60 degrees?
And then thereís the matter of insects. There I am, painting my nails, and the mosquitoes decide that Iím the perfect target. I canít bat at them, I canít swat them away: I learned that this was a bad idea when one got stuck in the wet polish on my finger. And then, of course, there was the idea of ďnon-toxic nail polish.Ē A good idea in theory, but in reality it still smells bad, it clumps weirdly, and comes off too quickly. No matter what direction I choose, the answer is simply not productive, and I have hence become subject to a mainly nail-polish-less existence.
GETTING IT: Until very recently, there were no safe nail polishes and even doing one’s nails outdoors was an unhealthy compromise, and dangerous for the fetus if the person were pregnant. Unsafe means solvents that are neurotoxic (toluene), carcinogenic chemicals (formaldehyde), and plasticizers (phthalates) that are disrupter of hormones. This later is the most dangerous for male fetuses. Fortunately, Annie has FINALLY found some good products that are a big improvement over the ones Lily mentions, and Lily likes them, too.
GETTING IT GREEN: I, Annie, am most excited about a water-based nail polish now on the market, Suncoat Water-based nail polish, and it appears to be the safest out there. It is about 60-70 percent “natural.” The colors are all made from natural pigments. They do not contain phthalates, formaldehdye, toluene, or acetate/acetone.
Here are two other safer brands of nail polish that I will let Lily use even if they still might not be safe for someone who is very chemically sensitive: Honeybee Gardens and Peacekeeper. They are both free of phthalates,
formaldehdye, and toluene. To check your nail polish brand for safety visit the Environmental Working Group.
Polish remover adds another type of problem, so we recommend you let it peel off naturally. As yof et we don’t know of a phthalate-free nail polish remover.