Beware of chemicals in nail polish: Consumer Council

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 August, 2010, 12:00am

The Consumer Council has found a cancer-causing substance and other harmful chemicals in nail polish, the South China Post Morning reported.

Among the 42 brands of nail polish tested, 14 contained a cancer-causing substance and other chemicals harmful to users' health.

The cancer-causing substance is carcinogenic benzene, which could affect bone marrow and even cause leukaemia, said Dr Choi Kin, the president of the Hong Kong Medical Association.

Four out of the 14 samples had a level higher of benzene than the standard set by the mainland and the European Union. They are BNC manicure's vitamin super nail hardener, Volili's 846, Skin Food's jojoba pure nail PK004 and Skin Food's milk creamy nail base coat.

BNC had a benzene level of 260 parts per million and also contained 41,000 parts per million of methanol, 20 times that of the mainland standard.

'Methanol can be absorbed by the skin. An excessive amount of it could cause poisoning and pose harmful effects to the liver and kidney,' said the Consumer Council's Ambrose Ho. The council said symptoms of poisoning included nausea, tiredness and headache.

Apart from benzene, two chemicals called DEHP and MMA were found in Volili's sample. DEHP is a plastic softener which should not be found in cosmetic products. MMA could cause allergies.

The council advised consumers not to use nail polish every day and suggested they buy the products at shops with a good reputation.

Frequent use of nail removal solutions may also harm the nails, said Connie Lau Yin-hing, the council's chief executive.