Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Polishing up the rumours

It's been noted that sometimes I'm a little slapdash. I'm not a great washer-upper, I bump into things and just this week I've lost my phone and cashcard. And when it comes to warnings, rules and sell-by dates, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants rather than throw away a yoghurt because it's one minute into the best-before date.

That being said, this week I got a bit of a shock from the back of a bottle. It turns out my beloved Seche Vite topcoat bears the warning: 'This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.'

Hmmm.This was a bit of a frightener. I've been slapping it on a few times a week for months, and only found out after a pregnant friend I'd recommended it to, who thankfully does do things by the book, alerted me to it.

The thought of not being able to use said topcoat (the one I've proclaimed changed my life) filled me with sadness, so I set about finding out more.

The chemical in question is toluene, which in large doses can be pretty nasty stuff. It's what gives Seche Vite that slightly scary chemical smell, and if injested or inhaled in large doses, can cause all kinds of problems. However, the amount in a nail polish should be harmless.

The warning in question is there thanks to strict Californian laws regarding certain chemicals, which cover the manufacturer's back should anyone ever, in litiginous American society, suspect they have fallen foul of after-effects. From my limited research, the same warning can be found on some hairsprays and even artificial sweetner produced in California. Basically, if the product was made in the UK, rest of US or, in fact, the world, we would have no idea the chemical was there.

Now I know the facts it's not something that will put me off using it. I will, however, try some alternatives, such as the highly recommended Sally Henson version, which doesn't contain toluene.

That said, I think it's important everyone makes their own informed decision about the products they use, and what's in them, and as I've been plugging this wonder product pretty heavily over recent months, I wanted to let everyone know what's in it!

I hope this sheds a bit of light on the subject, and I'd lve to know if my readers are careful about the chemicals they use, or are more interested in the after effects?


  1. it's crazy what chemicals go into certain things, it really is. i remember once when i really into making jewelry, i went into a bead shop with my mum, and we saw some plain rings to decorate... i read the back of the pack and it said something along the lines of 'the chemicals in this product have been known to cause cancer'!?

    i think it's really great of you to have shared this, especially as you said you have been recommending it for a while! :)

    love, jazmine. xx

  2. I enjoyed this post very much as I have just finished my MSc in toxicology so we learn all about this kind of stuff! If something contains a chemical has been proven to cause cancer or whatever they HAVE to put it on the packet so if it isn't there don't worry about it! Besides toluene in nail varnish isn't going to cause you any problems unless you ingest 13223 bottles!!! I hope you find a good replacement though x

  3. When I was staying with my Uncle in California there was a notice outside his building saying 'This building contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.'
    Honestly in the US they slap warnings on everything and anything - I think if you paid notice to them all you'd be sat at home wrapped in cotton wool!
    Still loving the blog!
    (Not sure what to comment as now so Im going to choose annonymous not that I want to be annonymous Ive just no idea what the other things mean!!!)
    Marie xx

  4. Ahh this is interesting thanks Tory. I;ve been thinking about buying this actually.

    I use the Sally Hansen Power Shield which is pretty amazing! :D


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