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Not So Dynamite

What does nail polish and TNT have in common? Toluene

What is it and where you can find it?
Gasoline additive: discourages engine knocks
Nail polish: holds color and gives a smooth finish
Additive to fracking fluids: a component of the BTEX complex
Nail polish remover: used as a solvent
Hair dyes: provides vibrant, long-lasting color
Toluene is also the second T in the explosive TNT

Toluene was first procured by isolating the resin of a tropical South American tree, tolu balsam. Today, it is derived from petroleum during the production of gasoline. It can be found in hundreds of products that we use in our daily lives and is a precursor for many compounds.

Toluene is a clear liquid solvent with a distinctive sweet smell. It evaporates quickly and enters our environment through the air. Inhalation of Toluene is very common in salons as well as industrial areas where traffic is heavy. When it is inhaled, it moves from your lungs into your blood. Toluene can also be absorbed through your skin. Once Toluene has penetrated your skin’s barrier, it goes directly into the bloodstream. Although side effects like headaches or dizziness may be temporary, the longevity of the adverse effects on the immune system, kidney, liver and reproductive system are not known yet.


Are you being served a toxic cocktail every time you have your nails done?

Are you paying to much?

 Is your health paying the price when you get a manicure? Picking a color is no longer your biggest concern at the nail salon. Many nail polishes contain the toxic trio: formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and toluene. Ethyl acetate and isopropyl acetate can also accommodate this trio. These chemicals can also found in gasoline, glues, perfumes, cosmetics, and inks used in printing.

Increasing ventilation, along with wearing masks and gloves in salons, can reduce the risks of exposure for employees. Unfortunately for you, wearing gloves while having your nails doesn’t make sense, it’s like taking a shower with a wetsuit on.  Although you and salon employees are exposed to “safe amounts” of these chemicals during your time at the salon, the long-term cumulative effects are not known.

The reality is that we are exposed to dozens and dozens of unavoidable chemicals every day. The disturbing reality is that out of the thousands of chemicals that are manufactured and used in this country, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only tested and approved about 10% of the chemicals used in the cosmetic industry. Although, the other 90% of chemicals haven’t necessarily been determined to be “unsafe,” they also haven’t been determined to be “safe.” Strange, rather than having to prove that a chemical  is safe, it has to be proven that it is unsafe; “innocent until proven guilty.”

Although we know a lot about the chronic effects of Toluene, we do not know the endocrine disruption or long-term effects. Toluene is viewed as an acceptable substitute for benzene because it is not considered carcinogenic. However, toluene-based compounds are reasonably anticipated to be carcinogenic to humans.

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Thank you for making a Conscious Choice for you,
our planet and our future generations. -Conscious Choice




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