ANGELES—Don’t hold your breath waiting for nail polishes with names
like “I Didn’t Know Carcinogens Came in Coral” and “Formaldehyde
Formal.” Although they may as well be sold on the beauty aisle.
Beginning today, a new ad campaign targets
OPI Nail Products, Inc., spoofing the brand’s quirky shade names to
expose the company’s insistence on using chemicals linked to cancer and
The ad features a beauty queen who has just
been crowned “Miss Treatment USA,” a play on the fact that OPI sells
safer products in Europe but refuses to make them available to U.S.
consumers. The ad is running in this week’s LA Weekly and will appear
in other publications in the coming weeks.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a
coalition of health and environmental groups that paid for the ad, met
with OPI executives in March and urged the company to replace toxic
chemicals in their U.S. products with safer alternatives. OPI
“Women shouldn’t have to choose between
beauty and health,” said Felicia Eaves, national campaigns organizer of
Women’s Voices for the Earth, a founding member of the Campaign for
Safe Cosmetics. “Because OPI refuses to offer their U.S. customers safe
products, consumers and salon owners must seek out safer alternatives
on their own. We are especially concerned about how these chemicals are
affecting the health of salon workers, who tend to be primarily women
of color.” OPI is found in most nail salons and is the leading
professional brand of nail polish.
Many of OPI’s nail polishes contain
formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (DBP); all three chemicals
are on California’s Prop. 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer or
reproductive toxicity. In addition, both toluene and formaldehyde are
listed by the U.S. National Toxicology Program as “reasonably
anticipated” to be human carcinogens. In 2004, the European Union
banned the use of DBP, a chemical linked to birth defects, from
cosmetics, forcing OPI and other companies to remove DBP from nail
products sold in 25 European countries. No such ban exists in the
United States. The FDA does not require that cosmetics products be
tested for safety before they are sold.
The new ad encourages consumers to share
their concerns about the safety of OPI products with their manicurists,
to use safer brands of nail polish and to urge OPI to sign the Compact
for Safe Cosmetics by calling the company at 1-800-341-9999. More than
350 other cosmetics and personal care product manufacturers have
already signed the Compact, a pledge to replace hazardous ingredients
with safer alternatives.
To view the ad visit: http://safecosmetics.org/newsroom/our_ads.cfm