Endocrine Disruptor In Nail Polishes Gets Into Women’s Bodies

October 19, 2015

Nailed: Chemical policy reform is urgently needed to protect Americans from endocrine disruptors

Beginning in 2004, in response to pressure from EWG and other environmental health advocates, U.S. manufacturers voluntarily stopped making and using a class of fire retardant chemicals called polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs. PBDEs are endocrine disruptors that persist in the environment and in the food chain. But instead of banishing toxic fire retardants from consumer items manufacturers continued to use other chemicals, including TPHP, and produced new mixtures with little to no safety information.

Under the federal law, chemical manufacturers are not required to provide information about the safety of their products and the effects on humans, animals and the environment before they market them. Because of this gaping loophole, manufacturers constantly swap out one toxic chemical for another that may be less controversial but is potentially just as hazardous.

The federal law has failed to control human exposure to toxic chemicals such as fire retardants. Its ambiguous, fatally flawed safety standard has contributed to the widespread use of chemicals whose safety has not been established.

EWG is working to reform federal chemical and cosmetics regulation by establishing a stronger safety standard that would require chemical makers to prove that their products posed “reasonable certainty of no harm.” Such a standard would put a rigorous, health-protective burden of proof on the manufacturer to show its products were safe before they came to market.