I had just painted my toes, so I cringed when I read the popular media headline: “New study finds endocrine disruptor enters the body via nail polish.”
Endocrine disrupters are, as defined by the National Institute on Health, “chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.” Natural and artificial substances found in everyday items such as plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, food, toys, cosmetics and more have been shown to interfere with hormones.
But here is how science works: This study, which has a much different headline than the news report, is a start to learning more and discovering how our world works around us. Further studies will help us shape our understanding of how triphenyl phosphate (TPHP), the chemical in nail polish focused on in this study, affects our body. The popular media headlines can be misleading, but I still cringed.
The cringe should remind us that everything we put in or on our body affects us in ways beyond what we see on the outside. And finding companies that are environmentally ethical and mindful about the chemicals they use isn’t easy.
I recently visited the Aveda Institute Dallas, located at the Shops at Park Lane, and was inspired by their vision to create a culture of connecting beauty, environment and well-being. The Aveda Institute Dallas is a place for students to receive their cosmetology degree through attending beauty school, which includes training in the Aveda mission to care for the world and set an example as environmental leaders.
The Aveda Institute Dallas’ director, Jennifer Haack, described the student’s introduction and curriculum throughout beauty school as “students are constantly reminded that they are a part of something that is bigger.” Aveda, as a company, is known for making efforts to source sustainable and organic ingredients. Aveda also buys wind credits to offset the electricity used to manufacture their products. On-site at the Dallas institute the building itself was built with green design principles such as installing efficient lighting, incorporating sustainable materials like bamboo plywood for some wall panels, and 95 percent recycled content was used in the interior steel mezzanine structure.
The energetic music playing inside mixed with a stage for fashion shows lures young students in with the fun of beauty, while the coupling of environmentally-sustainable cleaning products, in-house recycling programs and carbon footprint calculators in their training, gets them hooked on making a connection between beauty to the environment. This message also translates to the educators working on-site. After talking to several of the educators, it was obvious to see their passion for beauty, but also their inspiration and eagerness to learn more about how the products they use connect back to the environment.
SpaRitual, the vegan nail polish brand offered at the Aveda Institute Dallas, is pushing for high quality ingredients that are socially and environmentally friendly. SpaRitual nail elixirs are DBP, toluene and formaldahyde free yet they still contain other chemicals, such as TPHP. The Environmental Working Group found that 49 percent of 3,000 nail polishes in their database list TPHP as an ingredient, but the recent study found TPHP was found in more nail polishes that didn’t disclose TPHP as an ingredient on their label.
Well, my toenails currently have who knows what nail polish on it, and I’m eager to carve out some time to divulge in the luxury services at the Aveda Institute Dallas. Although the nail polish may have TPHP in it for now, the companies as a whole are making a commitment to the environment that my local pharmacy’s cheap nail polishes are not.
As seen in the Katy Trail Weekly.