Warning Out on Hazardous Glue for Plastic Nails


The EcoWaste Coalition is alerting the public about a nail adhesive containing a banned chemical that can cause allergic reactions and reproductive harm.

Following its recent market monitoring in Binondo and Quiapo, Manila, the group warned that the China-made glue found in some artificial nail sets contains dibutyl phthalate (DBP) as written on the label.

Based on its latest monitoring, over 10 brands of plastic nail sets being sold locally contain a small tube of glue with DBP, a toxic substance, among its listed ingredients.

The plastic nails sets sold with DBP-containing glue carry the names Dudustrong, EM, Hodabeauty, Lulu Beauty, L&Y, ME, Mooa Rtynoy Korr, Q.Nail, Xucai and Xu Ri, and are sold for P19 to P50 per set.

“We find this very concerning as exposure to DBP, a known endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC), may trigger allergic reactions, damage the reproductive system, cause birth defects or affect the development of  a child,”  the EcoWaste Coalition said.

As a substance of very high concern, DBP has been restricted in toys in concentrations exceeding 0.1 percent as per DOH Administrative Order 2009-0005-A.  It is also not allowed in cosmetics in line with the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive, which has listed DBP among the substances that “must not form part of the composition of cosmetic products.”

In response to the submission made by the EcoWaste Coalition in 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested and confirmed the presence of DBP in the glue used to fasten plastic nails.

According to FDA Advisory 2015-006, “DBP has the ability to cause allergic reactions,” warning “there were previous cases where allergic response to DBP was found to be severe” and adding further “allergic reactions 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 explained.

In another advisory issued in 2021, the FDA warned against the same artificial nail glue which has no valid certificate of product notification.

According to FDA Advisory 2021-0541, the use of the unnotified glue for artificial nails “may pose health risks to consumers.”


In Europe, several countries have recalled at least 110 artificial nail sets with accompanying adhesive that contains DBP, chloroform, hydroquinone or tetrahydrofuran, the EcoWaste Coalition noteda.

According to the alerts issued by European governments, “chloroform can cause skin irritation and can damage health if inhaled or swallowed,” “hydroquinone can cause skin irritation and dermatitis,” and “tetrahydrofuran might cause cancer.”