In a partial victory for professional polish manufacturers, the California State Attorney General’s office ruled in late February that professional polish manufacturers are not required by California’s Proposition 65 to warn retail consumers and salon customers that nail polish contains toluene, a chemical that is known to the state of California to cause birth defects or reproductive harm. However, the Attorney General’s office has asked for additional studies before it will decide whether nail technicians must be warned about their exposure to toluene.

In the meantime, 30,000 California salons received a letter and a warning sign (to post in an employee area) in late March. The letter, signed by 15 nail polish manufacturers, explains what toluene is and how it’s used in nail polish, what their studies have revealed about nail technicians’ exposure level to toluene, and why they are providing warning signs for salon workers. If manufacturers are able to prove in future studies that nail technicians’ exposure to toluene is below the accepted level, they will notify California salons that the warning signs are no longer necessary.

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