There's bad news out for women who paint their nails with nail polish. Every time you use the polish, you're exposing yourself to traces of a rather toxic chemical. And this chemical can lead to paralysis and reproductive disorders.
Researchers from Duke University and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found traces of the chemical triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) in women right after they paint their nails. TPHP is a plasticizer that's also used as a flame retardant for furniture. The problem was so rampant that every woman who volunteered for the study had TPHP detected in their urine. And the women who applied polish every day, consistently added to their TPHP load.
According to the researchers, "The study found that when women applied nail polish with TPHP directly to their nails, the levels of a biomarker of that chemical in their urine increased sharply. Technically, the researchers tested the women's urine for a chemical called diphenyl phosphate or DPHP, which is created when the body metabolizes TPHP."
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The researchers had the women use 10 different nail polishes. Of these 10, eight caused the women's urine levels of TPHP to spike. And two of these polishes didn't have TPHP listed as an ingredient on their label.
So if you're going to paint your nails, make sure you find one that says "TPHP Free," as that's the only way to be sure. You may have to check their website or call their customer service to find out. Just because it's not on the label doesn't mean it doesn't have the chemical in it.
Interestingly, the EWG says that the manufacturers probably use TPHP because it helps the polish stay flexible and durable. I know a lot of women who use nail polish just to give their nails extra strength so they don't crack, chip, and break. If you're in that boat, you can cut down on the amount of nail polish you have to use by taking nutrients that will keep your nails strong, flexible, and durable without the need for polish.
My friend and colleague, Frank Shallenberger, MD, recently developed Healthy Hair & Nails to bring together some of the best nutrients known to keep your nails in tip-top shape. This formula contains biotin, pantothenic acid, l-cysteine hydrochloride, and vitamin B12 — all nutrients proven to strengthen your nails so they're less likely to break.
While this formula won't stop your body from absorbing TPHP, it might help protect you from some of the damage it can cause. And it will help reduce the need to use polish for strength and durability.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.