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Three nail polishes drop controversial chemical

by LaMont JonesPittsburgh Post-Gazette
September 3rd, 2006

Three popular nail polish brands  OPI, Sally Hansen and Orly  will no longer include a controversial ingredient that helps lacquer last longer on nails but has been linked to birth defects and cancer.

Del Laboratories, the maker of all three, has been pressured by consumers and health and environmental groups to remove dibutyl phthalate, which has been linked to birth defects and cancer.

Sally Hansen, a leading drugstore brand, is being reformulated to remove DBP, formaldehyde and toluene. All three chemicals are banned in the European Union and are on California's Prop. 65 list of chemicals known or strongly suspected to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.

The U.S. National Toxicology Program says formaldehyde is "reasonably anticipated" to be a human carcinogen while the Environmental Protection Agency restricts toluene in drinking water because it can cause nervous system disorders and damage the liver and kidneys.

Other major cosmetics multinationals, including Avon, Estee Lauder, Revlon, Proctor & Gamble's Cover Girl and Max Factor lines and L'Oreal, which makes the Maybelline brand, have removed DBP from nail products sold in the United States.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of advocacy groups, praised the action of Del Laboratories.

"Reformulating to remove dangerous chemicals is so much better than arguing about how much of those bad chemicals is OK to use in nail polishes," said Jeanne Rizzo, executive director of the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Fund, a coalition member.