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Nail product

Health Effect


Nail polish

Adverse female and male reproductive effects; developmental effects on male reproductive system after birth.a


Nail hardener and preservative

Cancer; asthma; allergic dermatitis; irritation to eyes, nose, throat, and skin.b


Nail polish, nail glue

Adverse neurological effects including headaches, dizziness, nausea, and symptoms resembling drunkenness, color vision impairment, neuropsychological and neurobehavioral effects. Developmental toxicity. Spontaneous abortion.c


Remover for polish and artificial nails

Irritation to eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, and other symptoms resembling drunkenness. Cracked skin, dermatitis.d

Ethyl cyanoacrylate (ECA)

Artificial nail glue

Irritation to eyes, skin, and upper respiratory tract. Asthma. Dermatitis.e

Ethyl methacrylate (EMA)

Artificial nails

Irritation to eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, and other symptoms resembling drunkenness. Asthma.f


  • a.

    California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of

    • 1986.

      “Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer or Reproductive

Toxicity.” (Health and Safety Code §25249.5 et seq.) (hereinafter Prop 65 List) (http://www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65/prop65_list/files/ P65single121908.pdf) (accessed February 28, 2009)

Cal-EPA, OEHHA, Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment Section. “Proposition 65 Maximum Allowable Dose Level (MADL) for Reproductive Toxicity for Di(n-butyl)phthalate (DBP).” (http:// www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65/law/pdf_zip/DBP%20MADL%20 062907.pdf)(accessed Feb. 28, 2009)June 2007.

Swan S, Main KM, Liu F, Stewart SL, Kruse RL, Calafat AM, Mao CS, Redmon JB, Ternand CL, Sullivan S, Teague JL, Study for Future Families Research Team. “Decrease in Anogenital Distance among Male Infants with Prenatal Phthalate Exposure.” Environmental Health Perspectives 113.8. August 2005.

  • b.

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Integrated Risk and Information System (IRIS), Formaldehyde. (http://www.epa.gov/ NCEA/iris/subst/0419.htm) (accessed Feb. 28, 2009)

  • c.

    U.S.EPA. IRIS, Toluene. http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0118. htm#noncar (accessed Feb. 28, 2009); Prop. 65 List. Donald JM, Hooper K, Hopenhayn-Rich C. “Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity of Toluene: A Review.” Environmental Health Perspectives 94 (1991): 237-244.

Ng TP, Foo SC, Yoong T. “Risk of spontaneous abortion in workers exposed to toluene.” Br J Ind Med 49 (1992): 804-808

  • d.

    Roelofs et al., 2007, Table on p. 9; U.S. EPA. Integrated Risk and Information System, Acetone. (http://www.epa.gov/IRIS/ subst/0128.htm) (accessed Feb. 28, 2009)

    • U.

      S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease. “ToxFAQs for Acetone.” (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts21.html) (accessed February 28, 2009)

  • e.

    Roelofs et al., 2007, Table p.9. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

      • 2001.

        Ethyl cyanoacrylate threshold limit value. Documentation of threshold limit values and biological exposure indices, 7th ed.,

      • 2001.

        Cincinnati, OH.

Asian Law Caucus and Asian Americans for Civil Rights & Equality. “Issue Brief, Chemical Hazards in the Nail Salon Industry.” (http:// www.asianlawcaucus.org) (accessed Feb. 28, 2009)

f. Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health Surveillance Program, Massachusetts Thoracic Society, and the Massachusetts Allergy Society. SENSOR Occupational Lung Disease Bulletin. (http://www.mass.gov/Eeohhs2/docs/dph/ occupational_health/sensor_lung_disease_bulletins/oct97.pdf) (accessed Feb. 28, 2009) October 1997; Roelofs et al., 2007.

California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative


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