The California Department of Toxic Substances Control analyzed 25 nail products purchased in the San Francisco area. They tested for the so-called "toxic trio:" Toluene, Formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. 12 polishes were labeled as free of at least one of the three, but of those, 10 of contained toluene, and four contained dibutyl phthalate. The compounds have been linked with birth defects and asthma. Karl Palmer is with the Department of Toxic Substances Control:
Palmer: "It's not illegal to put them in these nail products. What we're concerned about is that they're being marketed as something they're not."
Palmer says the nail polish tested was the type used in professional salons. The Department's study was only a snapshot, but he says it raises the question about how widespread the problem is.