Nail polish and health

I was concerned about chemical exposure during pregnancy so I did not paint my nails during my entire pregnancy (I used to really enjoy having painted nails since most makeup is for the benefit of other people looking at you unless you spend a lot of time looking in the mirror, but nail polish is the only form of makeup that you can enjoy on yourself all the time).

I painted my nails once after RJ was born, but I asked my mom to watch her in another room so RJ wouldn’t be exposed to the fumes. Then I was too reluctant to use nail polish remover because I was worried it would leave residue on my hands and I am handling RJ all day. So my nails looked nice for a day and then terrible for a couple of weeks.

Since I’ve had RJ, I’ve become more interested in avoiding potentially harmful chemicals in my personal hygiene routine. Since I am handling her all day and she often has her mouth on my body (I only ever use coconut oil on my breasts) I feel that looking after my own exposure to nasty chemicals is part of looking after her.

I started researching different types of nail polishes awhile ago and finally made a purchase of Suncoat Water-based Nail Polish. I was almost going to buy a Pure Anada brand nail polish because it is made in Manitoba, but it is a solvent-based polish (although it seems to be safe and formaldehyde free) and has that strong smell that I’d like to avoid. Because, you know, whatever you can smell is actually entering your body.

I’m very happy with the polish. It is practically odourless and one coat provides nice coverage.  I had heard that water-based polishes do not last as long as solvent-based but I am satisfied with the durability of this polish.

The one thing I forgot was to buy some nail polish remover. Hubby suggested I just use my old acetone-based remover because he thinks acetone is safe. But here’s a tip, if you want to know the safety of any chemical, you can google “msds” and then the name of the chemical. MSDS stands for Material Safety Data Sheet and it will tell you everything you need to know about a chemical. So here’s what it has to say about acetone:

Special Remarks on Chronic Effects on Humans:

May affect genetic material (mutagenicity) based on studies with yeast (S. cerevisiae), bacteria, and hamster fibroblast cells. May cause reproductive effects (fertility) based upon animal studies. May contain trace amounts of benzene and formaldehyde which may cancer and birth defects. Human: passes the placental barrier.

So it looks like I’ll be wearing ratty nail polish until I can make it to the store for some polish remover alternative.


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