Members of the Nail Manufacturers Council (NMC) had much to celebrate at their membership meeting in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

“This year, for the first time in history, the Nail Manufacturers Council faced a threat to our industry that would affect every single person working within it — from the nail technician to the major manufacturer,” announced NMC president Sunny Stinchcombe, “I’m proud to say that the NMC and its parent group, the American Beauty Association (ABA), met the challenge and fought for the rights of everyone in the professional nail industry.”

The challenge to which Stinchcombe referred was a lawsuit brought by the consumer action group As You Sow against companies that use the solvent toluene in their nail polish.

Myriam Clifford, past president of the NMC and chairperson of the legislative committee, was recognized for her efforts on behalf of the professional beauty industry in settling the lawsuit and “preserving the image and integrity of the professional nail care manufacturer and nail artist.”

“As a result of our recent settlement, nail manufacturers will have several options afforded them under California law concerning toluene as a chemical,” Clifford explains. She adds that an independent lab is testing participating NMC members’ polish to determine the exposure levels to toluene at various concentrations.

“To date, there has been no testing that has shown nail enamel to be dangerous,” says Clifford.

The suit was brought in California, where the state’s Proposition 65 lists 265 chemicals that are deemed harmful and are required to be labeled with consumer warnings. Toluene, which is known to cause birth defects at high exposure levels, is one of the 265 chemicals.

“We do not believe the toluene concentration in nail enamel presents any danger,” says Clifford. “We’re proud to be carrying out the first comprehensive testing of this ingredient to establish reliable levels of safety. Regardless of the results of this testing, we will keep nail artists informed. The nail artist’s safety and success are the NMC’s primary concern,” concludes Clifford.

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