Signs warning nail technicians of the hazards of toluene were mailed to all California salons on March 26 as pail of the Nail Manufacturers Council’s 1994 settlement agreement with As You Sow, a consumer group that filed suit against nail polish manufacturers who sold polishes containing toluene in California.

As part of the agreement, polish manufacturers whose polish contains more than 1% toluene must mail explanatory letters and warning signs to be posted in salons’ employee areas each year to all registered nail technicians in California.

The NMC coordinates a mass mailing effort each year so that individual manufacturers can combine their efforts and the costs instead of taking on the mailing individually. This year, 10 professional polish manufacturers participated in the mailing, which cost $18,500. Other manufacturers named in the settlement agreement either have reformulated their polish or declined to participate in the NMC’s mailing.

The yearly mailing could be avoided, says the NMC, if enough manufacturers would sponsor a comprehensive study proving once and for all that the amount of toluene in nail polish is not a reproductive hazard to nail technicians.

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