10 April 2011
for the nails
You've smelt your nail polish. Those fumes are just as frightening as you feared. "The smell comes from polluting VOCs such as the carcinogen formaldehyde and the powerful neurotoxin toluene. Breathing this stuff in can damage your kidneys, brain and liver... [and] most nail polish is made using the plastic softener dibutyl phthalate, which has been found in human blood and body tissues and is known to cause birth defects in animals."
Don't forget your nail polish remover. Adding something 'soothing' like aloe doesn't mean anything horrid has been removed. It's just an attempt by a company to create a healthier image without having to make an actual change. So you are using acetone-free remover? Good. Now check the label and make sure there is no methanol too. "[S]ome non-acetone nail polish [remover] contain[s] poisonous methanol, which is deadly to fish, birds and wildlife."
All this bad news doesn't mean your nails need be permanently nude. Check out No-Miss and Suncoat nail polish. They are "two common health store nail polish brands that are free of all three of the contentious chems, although they are not entirely natural. Suncoat's 29 shades get their pigment from earthy minerals, are 70% water and are alcohol- and acetone/acetate-free." Both brands also make healthy polish removers.
Quotes from Ecoholic: When You're Addicted to the Planet by Adria Vasil. Toronto:Vintage Canada, 2007. Image from www.nomiss.com.