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OSHA Alert: Nail Polish Used in the Preparation Process

Posted: April 30, 2012

According to a recent OSHA report, the California Department of Toxic Substance Control announced that certain nail polish and nail care products may endanger nail salon workers and the public, despite being marketed as non-toxic.

Twenty-three nail care products were studied and nearly half of the products claimed to be non-toxic. The report showed that 10 nail polished contained toluene and four contained dibutylphthalate (DBP). Manufacturers of dangerous and potentially mispackaged products reportedly will be required to analyze their products, seek out safer ingredients, or face regulatory action.

Toluene is restricted in cosmetics sold in the European Union. High concentrations of toluene, according to the report, may be harmful to women of child bearing age. Both toluene and DBP, which also is banned from cosmetics in the European Union, are listed as "known to the state of California as causing reproductive toxicity."

Funeral directors who use nail polish, both consumer grade and polishes specifically made for use by funeral directors and embalmers, should review the material safety data sheets for the products they use and note their chemical content, potential hazards and instructions for safe use.