Whether you call it “dental acrylic,” “porcelain,” or methyl methacrylate (its proper name), there should be no question any longer that MMA does not belong on human fingernails. The FDA took a stand against MMA in the 1970s and reinforced its position recently when it declared that it would take action against companies supplying MMA to the nail industry. The FDA originally instituted its ban because of the complaints it received from consumers.
There are reasons that MMA (in the liquid-monomer form) is forbidden for nails: It can cause skin reactions when it comes in contact with soft tissue; long-term exposure to its vapors can lead to respiratory problems; and not least, a nail extension sculpted from an MMA system is usually so rigid and adheres to the nail so well that instead of breaking off when it is strained, the product can tear the nail plate right off with it, causing permanent damage to the nail bed.
Yet there are still companies who market MMA to the professional salon industry MMA is easier and less expensive to make than its safer alternative (called ethyl methacrylate). And, there are plenty of nail technicians who like MMA because of the strong nails it creates. But this issue has ramifications beyond public health. It has also brought scrutiny to the legitimate products used in the industry and has confused and scared many professionals and consumers. It’s a case of the industry’s reputation suffering from the bad rap of one product.
But now suppliers and nail professionals who deal in the product do so at their peril. Not only is the FDA now putting more force behind its ban, the Nail Manufacturers Council has publicly denounced MMA suppliers. In fact, the council asks that if you know of anyone engaged in selling or distributing MMA-containing products to report it to them. NAILS supports the FDA and NMC’s stand and admonishes nail technicians to steer clear of MMA.
1997: A Year of Controversy