Sale of Banned "Fashion Nail" with Toxic Adhesive Near Schools Worries Watchdog Group


The sale of unregistered artificial nails that come with a glue containing a banned chemical for cosmetics and toys near public schools has incensed a watchdog group on toxics and wastes.

“We find the trade of these cheap and cute nail accessories deeply worrisome as the adhesive used to bond them on the nails poses chemical risk that young girls who play with them are not aware of,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“The matching glue, as indicated in the label, contains dibutyl phthalate (DBP), a hazardous substance that is not permitted for cosmetics, toys and childcare articles,” he said.

“What could be more infuriating is the fact that these products are being sold to unsuspecting girls right outside their schools,” he added.

To protect young girls against toxic exposure, Dizon requested concerned city mayors, barangay leaders and school principals to take immediate action to stop the unlawful trade.

Test buys conducted by the group’s AlerToxic Patrollers on March 4 and 5 revealed that such dangerous products are sold from P5-10 each by mobile vendors and “sari-sari” stores near public schools in Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Pasay, Quezon, San Juan and Taguig Cities.

The group also managed to buy “Charming Nails,” “Fashion Nail,” “Fengshangmei New Nail” and “Hong Lin Designer Nails Set” – all unregistered products with DBP-containing adhesives - from cosmetics and toys retailers in Quiapo and Divisoria, Manila.

DBP, classified by the European Chemicals Agency as “toxic to reproduction,” is banned in cosmetics, as well as in children’s articles and toys, under the European Union’s Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC and the Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), respectively.

During the past years, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Spain have prohibited the sale of over 40 false nail products from the market because of their DBP-containing adhesives.

Recently, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) through Advisory 2015-006 banned “Fashion Nail” artificial nail sets because the glue has DBP, which is listed among the substances that “must not form part of the composition of cosmetic products” as per the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD).

The regulatory action was prompted by the discovery made by the EcoWaste Coalition on the illegal sale of “Fashion Nail” last year, which the group eventually submitted to the FDA for confirmatory analysis in September 2014.

“Fashion Nail,” based on the market monitoring conducted by the group, is sold in Divisoria for as low as P60 per pack of 20 and resold by retailers near schools for as low as P5 per set.

According to the FDA advisory dated February 11, 2015, which was uploaded to the agency’s website on March 4, “DBP has the ability to cause allergic reactions (that) can induce a state of hypersensitivity in the immune system.”

“It can cause the immune system to respond to chemical exposures with immunological reactions that are harmful, varying from hives to life threatening responses such as anaphylactic shock, where low blood pressure and breathing difficulties can result in death,” the FDA warned.



Additional Information:

1.  “About Dibutyl Phthalate: The State of California and other authoritative bodies have classified dibutyl phthalate (DBP) as a reproductive and developmental toxicant, and the European Union banned the use of this ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. In animal studies, exposure to DBP during gestation causes infertility, cryptorchidism and problems in sperm development, adverse effects similar to human testicular dysgenesis syndrome. Prenatal exposure to DBP has been associated with anatomical changes in the reproductive system development in baby boys. In adult men, DBP has been correlated with changes in serum hormone levels, lower sperm concentration and motility, and decreased fertility.”

2.  Schools with nearby “sari-sari” stores and street vendors selling artificial nails with matching DBP-containing adhesives: Jose Magsaysay Elementary School and Nicanor Garcia Elementary School in Makati City; Mandaluyong Elementary School in Mandaluyong City; Fernando Ma. Guerrero Elementary School and Sta. Ana Elementary School in Manila; Jose Rizal Elementary School in Pasay City; Krus na Ligas Elementary School in Quezon City; Pinaglabanan Elementary School in San Juan City; and Taguig Elementary School and Tipas Elementary School in Taguig City.