Things in the bathroom??- Nail Polish
3 free, 5 free, 7 free? What does this all mean?
A lot of people are saying that all nail polish is toxic and “n-free” is just a marketing ploy and greenwashing, that they basically just switched out some toxic chemicals for other toxic chemicals. So let’s chat ?
What should we be concerned about in nail polish?
Formaldehyde. This is a preservative and has been linked to increased cancer risk. (1)
DBP. This is a phthalate which is an endocrine disrupter and mimics estrogen. (2
Toluene. This is a toxic fume that is connected to decreased brain function. (3)
3-free nail polishes do not have formaldehyde, DBP, or toluene.
5-free has no formaldehyde, DBP, toluene as well as formaldehyde resin & camphor.
7-free means it doesnt have formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, formaldehyde resin, camphor, plus no Xylene and TPHP
What is TPHP❓
Duke University did a study on another nail polish chemical, TPHP, and a metabolite of it (DPHP) and it had increased seven-fold in women 10-14 hours after they had painted their nails with it. TPHP is an endocrine disrupter and has also been linked to reproductive problems. “It is very troubling that nail polish being marketed to women and teenage girls contains a suspected endocrine disruptor,” said Johanna Congleton, Ph.D., MSPH, a senior scientist at EWG and co-author of the Duke-EWG study. “It is even more troubling to learn that their bodies absorb this chemical relatively quickly after they apply a coat of polish.” (4)
It would be nice if the nail polish chemical list ended with those 7, but it doesn’t. Some nail polishes are 9 or 10- free and some up to 13-free (although there is not a standard set as to what those 13 chemicals are). But a problem about the 5 free, 7 free, etc labeling is that some still contain benzophenone-1, which is a known endocrine disruptor and the IARC classifies it as possibly carcinogenic (5). This is why people call those greenwashing.
??So when you are looking for nail polish, check more on the label than 3 free, 5 free, etc. The main ingredients to avoid are: formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, formaldehyde resin, camphor, Xylene, TPHP, and benzophenone-1.