News Room

Statement by Beth Lange, Chief Scientist The Personal Care Products Council, Response to EWG and Duke University study on Nail Polish

October 19, 2015


Contact: Lisa Powers, (202) 466-0489 or Lauren Brady, (202) 454-0316

Washington, D.C. – “American consumers should not be concerned by new research that is speculative, misleading and does not use sound science to assess the safety of an ingredient which has a long and well documented history of safe use. Consumers who wear nail polish should have confidence from the following facts:

  • Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP) has been widely and safely used across many industries around the world, where it helps prevent electrical, automobile and furniture fires and increases flexibility and durability of products. Extremely small amounts are sometimes used in some nail polishes as a way to increase their flexibility and durability.
  • Under U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulations, TPHP, like all cosmetic product ingredients, must be safe for the intended use. The nation’s makers of nail polish take great pride in their products’ long history of safe use.
  • International scientific experts have extensively reviewed the safety of TPHP. Studies, including those that looked at reproduction and fetal development, have determined that the ingredient does not present a concern for human health.
  • EWG’s limited data does not support that nail polish is an important contributor to long-term TPHP exposures. In fact, EWG’s 2014 study states: “It is reasonable to assume that some portion of the TPhP metabolite detected in the mothers and children tested came from fire retardants, but it is impossible to fix responsibility precisely.”
  • As noted in EWG’s study, available data suggest that TPHP is rapidly transformed in the body to the marker compound measured in their study (DPHP) and then rapidly eliminated from the body. Therefore, infrequent use of nail products would not represent a significant source of TPHP in the body.
  • Data from other biomonitoring studies has shown that TPHP is found in both men and women. This also contradicts EWG’s conclusion that its use in nail polish is an important contributor to TPHP exposure.

“Clearly, there is no substance behind these alarming claims. The makers of nail polish stand behind their products and take pride in providing Americans with access to a wide variety of safe high quality and innovative products they trust and enjoy.”

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Based in Washington, D.C., the Personal Care Products Council is the leading national trade association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry. Founded in 1894, the Council's more than 600 member companies manufacture, distribute, and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S. As the makers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on every day, from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, lipstick and fragrance, personal care products companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.