More than 30,000 California salons have received warning signs for employees on toluene exposure under a directive from the state attorney general’s office. The nail Manufacturers Council (NMC) mailed out the signs but advised salon owners that the warning requirement applied to employees only. Customers don’t need to see the signs, the council advises.

The signs red, “Vapors from many nail polish products contain toluene, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Check product labeling for toluene content, and follow safety tips to minimize exposure.”

The NMC hopes manufacturers will ultimately receive a full exemption from the warning requirements once final testing on toluene safety is completed. The NMC is “concerned about unnecessary warning regarding toluene resulting in public confusion,” according to a report issued by NMC safety and standards committee.

In other chemical news, the NMC says the Cosmetic Ingredients Review panel of The Cosmetic, Toiletries and Fragrance Association (CTFA) has determined that ethyl methacrylate, a common ingredient in liquid and powder formulations for artificial nails, is safe for use in fingernail products as long a skin contact is avoided. But to avoid further threats of government regulation, manufacturers of professional nail products must begin to educate users about avoiding skin contact and possible sensitization to ethyl methacylate resulting from skin contact the NMC says.

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