A new report by California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has found significant amounts of one or more of the chemicals formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) in polishes that had been labelled “toxic-free.”

The three chemicals have been dubbed the “toxic trio,” since exposure to them has been linked to birth defects, developmental problems, asthma and other illnesses. In fact, DBP was banned from cosmetics in Europe in 2003 — although formaldehyde and toluene can still be used in small amounts in beauty products there.

Out of the 25 US nail care products that the DTSC sampled, 12 claimed to be free of at least one “toxic-trio” chemical — although out of these ten contained toluene and four contained DBP.

While the report highlights that it is mainly workers in poorly ventilated nail salons that could be at risk, Lisa Archer, national director of US organization Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, explains the accusations of mislabelling are a cause of concern for consumers too.

“Women want to make informed choices, so it is disturbing to see that manufacturers are misrepresenting their products with false labelling claims. Obviously, it’s possible to make nail polish without these toxins, and that’s what all companies should be doing,” said Archer.

The report follows the US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report in February claiming lipsticks from many high street brands were contaminated with lead.

For tips on safer products and a guide to the ingredients of over 700 nail polish products visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website to search its database of beauty products: –AFP RELAXNEWS