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Harmful Alternative in Nail Polish

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Triphenyl phosphate, a replacement for one of the toxic compounds in nail polish-dibutyl phthalate-is just as dangerous, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group. Signs of triphenyl phosphate, known as TPHP or TPP, turned up in all of the women tested a few hours after they applied nail polish sold at department and drug stores. The chemical, used to make polish flexible and durable, also is an ingredient in a controversial flame retardant added to furniture cushions.

Animal studies indicate that triphenyl phosphate is an endocrine disruptor, mimicking hormones and scrambling the healthy development of cells. One study showed that the chemical can trigger obesity by causing immature bone cells to transform into fat. Another study linked exposure to fertility problems.

The EPA has added triphenyl phosphate to a list of chemicals targeted for in-depth reviews based on widespread exposure and potential toxicity. Check polish labels carefully for this ingredient. See Nail It for nontoxic nail product suggestions.