The NMC and ABA appeared before the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel (CIR) (an independent expert panel of scientists that makes recommendations to the FDA), in Washington, D.C., on December 3, 1998, to testify on the safety of ethyl methacrylate and methacrylic acid and its esters for use in sculptured nail care products.

The NMC’s appearance was prompted by a petition filled by the Methacrylate Producers Association (MPA), a trade association of several large producers of methacylates, urging the CIR to reconsider its 1994 ruling, which proclaimed ethyl methacrylate acid and its esters as safe for use in nail care products.

Representing the NMC were Eric Schwartz of OPI Products and chairman of the NMC Safety and Standards Committee; Doug Schoon of Creative Nail Design (also a committee member); and Dr. Ed Jackson, an expert toxicologist retained by the ABA and NMC.

Commenting on the investigation, Schoon indicated his opinion that it is simply a “legal maneuver” by the CIR to avert potential liability issues for itself, and that it really does not represent any real threat to the nail industry.

“I don’t think that the MPA is going to pursue it,” Schoon says. “They’ve done their presentation, they’ve done their thing and raised the issue, and now the CIR will look at it and I think ultimately they will decide in favor the nail industry.”

“They just wanted to review the data, and I think they are going to re-confirm their [1994] ruling.”

The ABA and NMC group testified that ethyl methacrylate and methacylic acid and its esters (except one already regulated by the FDA) are safe when used by trained nail technicians. They cited scientific data showing that methacrylates as a class are only weak allergens and that there have been few incidents of allergies reported to the FDA or industry soruces, Also, they focused on the professional nature of the industry and the significant licensing, education, and training that is required of nail technicians.

Dr. Jackson also noted the side use of methacrylates in the biomedical field, such as in prostheses, surgical cement, contact lenses, and hearing devices without problems.

As of press time, the CIR has not announced any formal action on the MPA request, but has a meeting scheduled for March 3.

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