Style :: Grooming

SoCal nail polish maker removes chemical from products

Tuesday Apr 3, 2007
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LOS ANGELES - OPI Products, Inc. which makes one of the most popular brands of nail polish used in salons nationwide, has begun removing a chemical from its product line amid health concerns raised by an environmental group.

Women’s Voices for the Earth, a grass roots environmental group, has been lobbying OPI Products, Inc. for about a year to remove dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde from its products due to health concerns.

While the Los Angeles-based company removed dibutyl phthalate last year and offers formaldehyde-free products, OPI recently said they have started to introduce products without toluene - a chemical that helps polish flow more smoothly.

Women’s Voices released a study this month called "Glossed Over: Health Hazards Associated with Toxic Exposure in Nail Salons." The group claims chemicals found in nail products have been linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems.

"The health standards are so outdated that we don’t believe they’re protecting people’s health," Women’s Voices spokeswoman Alexandra Gorman said this week.

An OPI spokesman said the company did not remove the chemicals because of pressure from the group. Spokesman Harris Shepard said the toluene was removed because company researchers found other ingredients that improve the flow of polish.

In a March 15 letter to Women’s Voices, Chief Operating Officer Eric Schwartz argued OPI products are safe.

"As you know much of the concern about the above ingredients emanates from potential exposures in industrial factory settings where the exposures are much, much higher than in finished nail care products," he wrote.

Gorman said she supported the action, regardless of the reason.

"OPI is doing the right thing with this decision," she said.

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