In October 2018 researchers from the USA published the results of their comparison of labelling and the actual content of nail polishes. In the 2000s, nail polish manufacturers started promoting “3-Free” products, phasing out three widely publicized toxic chemicals: toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate. However, dibutyl phthalate, a known endocrine-disrupting plasticizer, was occasionally replaced by triphenyl phosphate, another known endocrine-disrupting plasticizer. A total of 40 nail polishes from 12 brands, were selected for popularity and label variety, and analysed for 12 phthalates and 10 organophosphate plasticizers. Results showed that nail polishes labelled as “10-Free” had the most inconsistent labels. Many samples were found to contain both triphenyl phosphate and bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. The “5-Free” and “13-Free” samples had lower triphenyl phosphate levels than unlabelled or “3-Free” samples. It was also noted that the samples which did not contain triphenyl phosphate were found to have higher bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate levels. Plasticizers above 100 μg/g were found in five brands that did not disclose them and in two that had excluded them in their labels.
Young AS et al. Phthalate and Organophosphate Plasticizers in Nail Polish: Evaluation of Labels and Ingredients. Environ Sci Technol. 2018 Oct 10. [Epub ahead of print]