Dangerous nail products ingredients linked to illness, harm

The New York Times has published a series of articles about dangerous nail products ingredients, which can be found here http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/11/nyregion/nail-salon-workers-in-nyc-face-hazardous-chemicals.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0 .

The articles in the New York Times talk about illnesses and tragedies that are being found in nail salons all across the United States. According to the article there are complaints of abnormal fetal development, respiratory problems, skin irritation, and miscarriages. Apparently medical research does show a link to injuries and harm caused by nail products; but the chairman for the Professional Beauty Association’s Nail Manufacturer Council on Safety says that as to nail polish there is no evidence of harm, according to the NY Times article.  Apparently the research is limited as to harm caused by nail products because there have not been that many studies that have focused on nail salon workers specifically.

This article is a frightening read because it reveals awful health problems that individuals and their children have suffered while working as nail salon workers. Some of these health problems include miscarriages , serious developmental delays in children of nail salon workers, and respiratory problems in nail salon workers.

The article also examines and discusses the three chemicals that are typically found in nail salon products: Dibutyl phthalate,  “DBP” for short, which makes the nail polish and other products pliable; Toluene, a solvent which helps polish “glide on smoothly”; and finally, Formaldehyde, which is a hardening agent.

Cosmetic Industry officials say that linking the chemicals to manicurists’ health is “faulty science”. But what is interesting is that some polish companies have voluntarily removed certain chemicals from formulations of their products, according to the article.

It is certainly alarming and tragic to hear of the awful harms described by the article that those that work in the salons have experienced.  I have not heard of legal case being brought. The realm of the law that would deal with a potential case would be tort law and a certain subset of tort law called products liability or defective products law.  This area of the law would aim to compensate the injured who can prove by a preponderence of the evidence to the satisfaction of the courts that the chemicals were causing harm and injuries sustained or suffered. This story on dangerous nail products ingredients brings to light many important safety issues.