Don't worry, ladies. You're not harming yourself by applying your favorite nail varnish.
But that's precicely what an environmental group is telling millions of women in order to push their regulatory agenda. And last week, the New York Times kindly spread the alarmism.
In last week's "Just Ask" column, (which perhaps should be renamed "Just Ask…but We Can't Promise a Well Thought Out or Researched Answer), Deborah Blum asks "Is Nail Polish Harmful?"
Perhaps Lenore Skenazi of Free Range Kids said it best when she tweeted this entirely reasonalbe response to the story:
Really, when we get to the point of worrying whether NAIL POLISH is poisoning us, is ANYTHING safe enuf? http://t.co/zLPJhKh9fW
— Lenore Skenazy (@FreeRangeKids) January 9, 2014
So, who does Ms. Blum ask about this question? Perhaps a toxicologist? A chemist? You know, someone who knows something about chemicals and it's toxilogical impact on the human body.
Nope. Ms. Blum asked Janet Nudelman, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which she identifies as "an advocacy group." Ms. Nudelman's comments were predictable:
Janet Nudelman, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, an advocacy group, said the concern was that trace amounts of these materials would be absorbed through the skin or nail or that vapors would be inhaled. “No one is saying that occasional application of nail polish will cause long-term health consequences,” she said. But certain groups may be at higher risk.
Of course, if Ms. Blum had done her job–you know, journalism–she might have asked an actual expert if these "trace amounts" were really dangerous.
But she didn't.
So, if you want the truth on the safety of these products as well as some of the background on why these hysterical claims are promoted (in short: fear is profitable), take a look at this excellent report by CEI's Dana Joel Gattuso, in which she reviewes the real (not junk) scientific literature on the use of chemicals in cosmetics.
It's too bad that we can't rely on the New York Times to do some basic research. People expect better from so-called "health" journalists, particularly ones who write a column inviting quesitons on important health issues.