Q&A

Is there a way to test nail monomer for MMA?

Q.

Is there a way to test nail monomer for MMA?

A.

It is not possible to test an artificial nail monomer liquid to determine if it contains significant amounts of methyl methacrylate (MMA), unless the testing is conducted in a properly equipped analytical testing laboratory. Typically such laboratories will charge up to $200 for each sample that is tested and the testing process can take up to 10 days to get the final results. Only the monomer liquid can be tested and not a finished artificial nail, since artificial nail powders often contain a safe, polymerized version of this monomer called polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), which would be misidentified as MMA monomer. There is no quick test that can conclusively identify MMA monomer other than by smell. MMA-based nail products typically contain 80% or more MMA monomer and therefore usually have a strongly distinctive and highly characteristic MMA odor that is easily recognized by those trained to detect such odor. Laboratory testing is used as a confirmation or to determine the exact concentration of MMA.

— Doug Schoon is chief scientific advisor for CND.

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