Nail Polish May Harm Fertility and Pregnancy

Nail Polish May Harm Fertility and Pregnancy
Although you may need a little extra pampering while trying to conceive coating your nails with a cocktail of toxic chemicals while breathing in formaldehyde fumes may not be the most fertility - and baby - friendly way to give yourself a treat.

Nail polish remover contains fertility-baby toxins too so if you are a dedicated nail-painter you'll want to brush up on the other options that are available.

Let's unpack the nail polish problem a little. Nail polish can contain a cocktail of chemicals known to cause birth defects and harm fertility such as formaldehyde, phthalates like DPT (dibutyl phthalate), toulene and a range of other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Phthalates have been connected to both male and female infertility.

Of more recent interest is the chemical triphenyl phosphate, or TPP, which is used to help polish stick to nails. When absorbed it forms a new chemical called diphenyl phosphate, or DPHP which is measurable in urine - and breast milk! - after polish has been applied.

Polish removers contain another assault of toxic chemicals too including acetone, methyl methacrylate, toluene, and ethyl acetate.DPT has already been banned from European nail polishes since 2006. The March of Dimes - an organization dedicated to the prevention of birth defects - advises too that women should avoid nail polish and nail polish removers while pregnant. It is also advised that women avoid beauty salons that have a strong nail polish or polish-remover odor (hairspray similarly is another airborne environmental toxin to avoid due to high phthalate exposure).

As a fertility specialist, I feel that anything that's not safe in pregnancy is not good pre-conceptually either. Switching your beauty habits now means that you will have figured out how to replace toxic habits well before you conceive.

In recent years a whole range of non-toxic nail polishes have been introduced but some reserach has found that eco-friendly and natural nail polishes may not be a clean as they are made out to be. You can check the safety of your current nail polish and polish remover at the cosmetic database if you copy and paste this link into your browser.

Many other personal care products contain phthalates too and are best avoided when trying to conceive. Perfumes and and products containing 'fragrance' on the label may contain a lot of phthalates.

Check your moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners and make-up. If in doubt try choosing 100% organic products, they are phthalate free and can save you a lot of tedious label reading.

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This content was written by Hannah Calef. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Hannah Calef for details.