Working Healthy

Acrylic Ingredient Under Scrutiny In Europe

NAILS has learned from correspondence from the U.S.-based Nail manufacturers Council and an interview with industry chemist Dough Schoon that an ingredient commonly found in acrylic systems called benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is under scrutiny in several European countries because of a regulatory classification issue.

NAILS has learned from correspondence from the U.S.-based Nail manufacturers Council and an interview with industry chemist Dough Schoon that an ingredient commonly found in acrylic systems called benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is under scrutiny in several European countries because of a regulatory classification issue. Essentially, BPO is classified as a “drug” in Europe (as opposed to a cosmetic), and thus is not allowable in fingernail applications (considered cosmetics). In the U.S. BPO, which is also found in the over-the-counter acne treatment Clearasil, is classified in the “OTC” category—something in between drug and cosmetic, according to Schoon. The European Commission has a category analogous to the OTC category (called Annex III. Schoon says that the debate over what constitutes a drug versus a cosmetic has been raging for some time now, especially because of the new generation of so-called “cosmeceuticals.” The governments of Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark are allowing some uses of these chemicals in cosmetics.

According to Schoon and data gathered by the NMC., the issue is not a safety concern at all. The amount of BPO found in acrylic products is believed to be less than 2%, and that within three minutes of full curing the BPO is gone. BPO is used solely as an initiator and is the ingredient that causes the liquid component of the artificial nail products to harden or polymerize. Schoon believes that BPO is a safe and effective initiator for cosmetic, artificial nail enhancements. The goal of the NMC is to secure a “special use exemption” for BPO in the artificial nail category. 

Q&A with Doug Schoon   

NAILS: Right now, can nail professionals in these three European countries (Germany. Denmark, the Netherlands) legally use acrylic systems that contain BPO?

Schoon: Yes, acrylic systems that contain BPO are being used in these countries. The government knows that people are using them. No one has been closed down because of it. But some people have received warnings. Now what is happening is that local regulators are making noise. They are asking for more information. Right now, the NMC is taking to government regulators and getting extensions for use while we are looking into it.

NAILS: Is there any safety issue for either the nail technician or the client associated by BPO in the concentration it’s found in, in acrylic products?

Schoon: No. This is not about safety it is about how you classify ingredients. The fact is that we are talking about the same chemical that is used in Clearasil five times the concentration. Clearasil at five times the concentration. Clearasil is a leave-on skin treatment. We aren’t even doing that with the BPO.

NAILS: How long is the process to get BPO reclassified expected to take?

Schoon: The NMC just recently stated working on this, so we expect it to take between six months and one yea. We are working with the EC and COLIPA to get things started.

Keywords:   Doug Schoon     ingredients     international  

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