You may think that the only downside of nail polish is that it chips too easily, but some researchers are claiming that it might make you gain weight. Researchers at Duke University and the Environmental Working Group have highlighted a common nail polish ingredient that may be dangerous for those who regularly paint their nails.
This ingredient is called triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP, and is used to make nail polish more flexible and durable. Studies have shown that TPHP, which is also used to stop furniture catching fire, can interfere with hormones.
The researchers at Environmental Working Group found that the chemical is included in 49 percent of more than 3,000 nail polishes they tested and they have created a petition to urge companies to remove TPHP from polishes. The scientists speculate that TPHP could be linked to weight gain in humans, although they say this needs to be researched further. They say there is evidence that TPHP could affect hormones, metabolism, reproduction, and development.
“The question is whether or not we should be buying products with this ingredient if we know it is getting into our bodies. Nail polish was a contributor to the exposure,” said Johanna Congleton, senior scientist for EWG.
Some have said that this is unfounded, as TPHP is used in many industries and it is hard to pin-point exposure to it. Beth Lange, chief scientist for the Personal Care Products Council, told WWD.com: “American consumers should not be concerned by new research that is speculative, misleading and does not use sound science to access the safety of an ingredient which has a long and well-documented history of use.”
If you're concerned, stick to darker colors (there is more TPHP in clearer polishes) and make sure the polish doesn't get on your skin, where it can be absorbed into your bloodstream more easily. Or consider to switching to brands that use non-toxic polish, like Nars, Rescue Beauty, Honeybee Gardens, or Acquarella.