Yet another setback emerged this week in eco-news about your nail polish. According to a new study “Nail polish as a source of exposure to triphenyl phosphate,” co-authored by Duke University and the EWG, triphenyl phosphate (referred to as TPHP or TPP), turned up in each of the 26 women tested a few hours after they applied nail polish commonly sold at department stores and pharmacies, which includes Maybelline, OPI, Sally Hansen, Revlon, and Wet N Wild. Used to provide the durability in nail polish, this is the very same ingredient used in the controversial flame retardant added to furniture cushions, that the chemical-free campaigns are working to eliminate.
The problem with triphenyl phosphate
Animal studies indicate triphenyl phosphate is an endocrine disruptor, which means it imitates natural hormones and disrupts healthy development of cells. Studies link it to obesity caused by immature bone cells transforming into fat as well as fertility problems.
Yes Yes I Know You’re Not Surprised
Let’s be honest, are you really that surprised at this news? Of course not, if you’ve been a chemically-sensitive and savvy consumer you know by now that this is happening all the time. We are finding all sorts of “additives,” “preservatives,” “enhancers,” “manufacturing aids,” in everything and of course many are potentially toxic.
Most of these more toxic chemicals are not about consumer wish: no one wants GMO’s for instance as bad as the greedy companies looking to score billions on it. No one asked for it but we’re getting it. But it could be the single most disastrous idea of our time – especially if it’s truly killing the bees and human evolutionary survival.
If we ruin our guts, our teeth, and therefore our immunity, while scrambling our cells, our reproductive abilities and our brains, we are effectively killing ourselves off.
Is this a realistic assessment or a radical theory?
There are countless studies that now show what’s happening and they are coming out all the time, often quietly in the science sections of newspapers.
Every time we have to fight an issue with chemicals in our products that are proven potentially harmful it’s a frustrating battle.
First we are forced to boycott the brands that use these chemicals until they can change their formulas. Of course it’s hard to trust that the chemicals they use to replace these other chemicals are not ALSO going to be found toxic at a later date. After all, consumers already pushed to ban the chemical that TPP replaced (dibutyl phthalate) and now they are faced with this new issue! SIGH.
As much as I appreciate the EWG for their in-depth uncovering of major issues with our cosmetics and food, after all they are making ingredients and products more transparent to the consumer so we can make more informed choices, but why is this our jobs suddenly?
Should we keep picking apart every single ingredient in every single brand or should we be asking a different question altogether? When will we ban the same chemicals as the European Union and help do a giant sweep of the cosmetic industry in the US?
Demand for change
I think it’s high time for a change. I think it’s crazy for us to keep going to some .org website (no offense EWG! Love ya!) to keep checking all our products. We’ll do it as long as we must, but we shouldn’t have to. Products known to contain potentially harmful chemicals need to be off the shelves just as quickly as recalled food items that are found with salmonella. Consumers shouldn’t have to write long crafty emails to large corporations asking for product formula changes – based on issues of safety.
Nevertheless, a too small however persistent niche community of green-conscious consumers are crying “STOP.”
If I can reduce my chemical load with my toiletries to nearly zero that makes me feel better.
I don’t have big answers here. I wish I could tell you, to join up on some sweeping national anti-chemical campaign. They are out there but don’t catch on quite as they should. I know the answers for me. I make my own products in the areas I don’t trust the brands. Or I’ll do the research and find the best brand item I can find. If I can reduce my chemical load with my toiletries to nearly zero that makes me feel better.
Most cosmetics are just marketing – and we have to stop believing the hype so much.
The areas where chemicals make a difference are more the specialties – whiter teeth, chemical hair removal, hair coloring, overly dry skin, acne, cuts/scrapes AND nail polish. But even some of these have natural versions that in some cases work better. For instance, with acne, often people overdo over-drying agents and it disturbs the natural sebum in their skin causing infection and further inflammation. Body shower gels have loads and loads of unnecessary chemicals that can lead to eczema and other rashes – just a simple soap is all you need and there are tons of awesome natural soaps. Most cosmetics are just marketing – and we have to stop believing the hype so much.
The good news is makeup should inherently be organic. After all makeup … is dirt. Fancy dirt! But dirt nevertheless. Yes, and it’s fine – dirt can be organic natural nice dirt. Put organic nice dirt on your face – but make sure it’s clean and throw it away after a couple months. Buy the nice natural makeup – it’s on you all day, sometimes longer, so make sure it’s good stuff.
What to do about nail polish?
I haven’t found a current non-toxic brand. But what you can do is keep nail polish application to a minimum – just wear nail polish on special occasions and take off quickly afterwards – like the same night. Fortunately there are natural nail polish removers out there though so that’s a no-brainer and to apply the remover, you can use organic cotton balls too. Why organic? No pesticides and fertilizers in the cotton.
Thank you for reading “Your Eco-Friendly Nail Polish is Toxic And You’re Not Surprised.” Let us know your thoughts on cosmetic chemical-safety.