A new ruling by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) will require nail polish removers to be free of smog-producing chemicals by 2005. “Nineteen out of the 54 products on the market already meet that requirement,” says board spokesman Jerry Martin. The board voted to cut 18 tons per day of smog-forming, volatile organic compounds—or VOCs’ as they are more commonly known-from common household products, including nail polish remover. “While emissions from any one of these products are small, together they contribute significantly to air pollution,” says ARB chairman Alan Lloyd.

Regulations on nail polish removers were first imposed in 1994 and tightened in 1996. The new regulations will prohibit the sale or manufacture of products that exceed the standards.

Nail polish removers that are alcohol-based, as opposed to those that contain acetone, pollute the environment because the chemical dries and evaporates, forming ozone. In California alone, nail polish removers emit about 300 tons of VOCs year, Martin says.

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