Study: Certain nail polishes can lead to weight gain

(Courtesy: WFLA)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Could your next manicure or pedicure mess with your hormones and lead to weight gain? A new study out of Duke University points to an ingredient, TPHP, found in nearly half of nail polish brands on the market today.

Tasha Stoiber with the Environmental Working Group said, “Nail polish is the only personal care product that has this chemical listed as an ingredient.”

“If there is a certain brand you like, get on the computer, look it up and see what ingredients are in those nail polishes,” said Joezette Hite of Crave Salon in south Tampa.


Crave offers its customers safer brands on the market that don’t contain dangerous ingredients such as DBP, Toluen, and formaldehyde. Hite says those three ingredients are known in the industry as the “Toxic Trio.”

Those behind the study say the average woman paints her nails once a week, which could be enough to be harmful.

She also points to water soluble ones on the market, like Miss Piggy, that caters to kids. “Even their nail polish remover is perfectly safe for children and it’s void of all those chemicals,” said Hite.

Now industry experts are warning of another ingredient to keep an eye out for called metabolite of triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP. For years, it has been is used in plastics manufacturing and as a fire retardant in foam furniture.

According to EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database, more than 1,500 nail products, including polishes, contain TPHP.

The Environmental Working Group points out many brands tested don’t even list TPHP. According researchers at Duke University, that hidden ingredient can wreak havoc in your body, messing with your hormones and leading to weight gain.

More research is needed: Animal studies find the chemical is linked to reproductive and developmental issues, but the jury is still out on how exactly this effects humans.

Here are a few of the brands that sell nail polishes containing TPHP, according to researchers:

  • Sally Hansen
  • Mabelline
  • Essie
  • OPI
  • Revlon
  • Milani
  • Wet N Wild
  • See more here.

Find out more information on the study here.

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