• Question: what sort of chemicals are in makeup and nail varnish ?

    Asked by kirstyloo to Douglas, Matt, Tom on 25 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Douglas Blane

      Douglas Blane answered on 25 Jun 2010:

      I’m a physicist I’m afraid, so don’t know a lot about chemicals.

      So I did a web search on “toxic chemicals cosmetics” and had a look.

      Trouble is you get a lot of people who are selling a point of view. Or a product. You don’t get much science.

      Looks to me though that the worst chemicals are dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde and toluene. These used to be in a lot of nail varnishes especially. But some companies now make products without them.

      There was a Daily Mail article about toxic chemicals in makeup, which is here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1132810/Is-make-killing-There-deadly-poisons-lurking-handbag.html

      There’s also an article by a scientist saying a lot of that Daily Mail article was unscientific: http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/index.php/site/other/177

      You have to be careful even with scientists though. This one seems very definite – which always makes me wonder who is funding his work. Could it be a cosmetic manufacturer?

      Have a look at both of these, think about it and decide for yourself is my advice.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more definite. In science you quite often can’t be.

      But you can think about it, try to figure out what the evidence is and don’t believe the person who shouts the loudest – or says you can trust him because he’s a scientist 🙂