At any given time, we all carry around more than 200 chemical pollutants, pesticides, and toxic metals in our bodies—so why would we willingly add more toxins to the mix? The question is one researchers from Duke University and Environmental Working Group felt compelled to ask after reviewing the results of a recent study.
The study, which involved more than two dozen women and tested several different brands of nail polish, found that 80% of the products tested contained a chemical called triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP, which is a known endocrine disruptor (meaning it can interfere with normal hormone function in the body) and may also impact healthy weight management.
According to their findings, researchers discovered that the body quickly absorbs and metabolizes TPHP to form diphenyl phosphate (or DPHP), which can remain in the body up to 14 hours after application. This became clear when urine tests revealed a sharp spike in DPHP levels shortly after applying nail polish as well as elevated levels—up to 7X higher than normal—hours later.
Lead investigator and Duke University associate professor Heather Stapleton, Ph.D. speculates that companies may be using TPHP in place of phthalates, another class of endocrine-disrupting chemicals—and wonders if it’s just a case of swapping one harmful toxin for another.
“…It’s not clear that TPHP is the better alternative,” said Stapleton in a recent news release. “There is growing evidence suggesting that TPHP may affect hormone regulation, metabolism, reproduction and development.” For a list of nail polish brands that contain TPHP, visit EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database here.