Down the Drain
Water pollution caused by cosmetic chemicals, cleaning supplies and plastics
» in Nail Salons
Down the Drain: » in Nail Salons
By choosing nail care products and other cosmetics that do not contain hormone-disrupting chemicals, you protect your own health and the health of your family, and you reduce the amount of pollution entering San Francisco Bay. If you own or work in a nail salon, offer customers phthalate-free nail care. If you are a nail salon customer, seek out phthalate-free nail polishes, or bring your own.
•We tested 1 nail salon.
•We detected 4 of 5 phthalates.
•We did not detect bisphenol A or triclosan.
Hormone-disrupting contaminants were detected in Nail Salon Wastewater (parts per billion)
Phthalates in nail salons
Phthalates are found in many nail care products and other cosmetics. We detected 4 of 5 phthalates in wastewater from 1 nail salon. Studies show phthalates are common contaminants of people as well as streams and rivers (Kolpin 2002; CDC 2005; Wolff 2007).
- Phthalates are widely used in cosmetics and personal care products. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is used in some types of nail polish – check the list of ingredients. Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is a component of fragrance in many personal care products – in this case, you won't see the phthalate listed as an ingredient, only the word "fragrance" will appear on the ingredient list. Phthalates may also be used as skin moisturizers and skin penetration enhancers in cosmetics, and as ingredients in liquid soaps, detergents, and other cleansing products.
To reduce exposures to phthalates at the nail salon:
- Use nail polish and other beauty products that do not contain "dibutyl phthalate" – check the ingredient list. If you own or work in a nail salon, offer customers phthalate-free nail care. If you are a nail salon customer, seek out phthalate-free nail polishes, or bring your own.
- Use personal care products, detergents, cleansers, and other products that do not contain "fragrance" in the ingredient list – "fragrance" commonly includes the phthalate DEP.
- Apply nail polish in well-ventilated areas.
Triclosan in nail salons
Triclosan is found in many "antibacterial" soaps, cleansers and other personal care products that may be used in some salons. We did not detect triclosan in wastewater from 1 nail salon, but studies indicate people are exposed to this chemical in their daily lives (Adolfsson-Erici 2002; Tan 2002; TNO 2005; Wolff 2007). Triclosan is commonly detected in people, and in streams and rivers (Adolfsson-Erici 2002; Kolpin 2002; TNO 2005; Wolff 2007).
To reduce exposures to triclosan at the nail salon:
- Avoid unnecessary use of "antibacterial" cosmetics – read the list of ingredients. The American Medical Association recommends against using products with antibacterial ingredients without specific need (Tan 2002). Studies indicate that households that use these products are no healthier than those that use soap and water and other typical cleansing products (Larson 2003; FDA 2005).
- If you need to use an antimicrobial skin disinfectant, use an alcohol hand rub instead of a product containing triclosan.