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Consumers Press OPI to Give its Nail Polish a Makeover

Salon Brand Contains Some of the Most Toxic Ingredients on the Market

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 19, 2006
Contacts: Felicia Eaves, Women?s Voices for the Earth 202-341-9834; Lisa Archer, Friends of the Earth 202-222-0712; Susan Roll, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, 617-376-6222; Kevin Donegan, Breast Cancer Fund 415-346-8223

WASHINGTON—Women across the country are speaking out against a popular nail polish brand known for its wacky shade names such as “Blushingham Palace” and “I’m Not Really A Waitress.”

To mark Earth Week, women in dozens of U.S. cities are delivering letters to nail salons that sell OPI nail products, urging them to sell safer brands of nail polish while demanding that OPI Products, Inc. remove toxic chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, birth defects and other serious health problems from its products.

The consumer and retailer education effort, organized by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of health and environmental groups, follows findings from a recent scientific analysis which revealed that OPI nail polishes contain some of the most toxic ingredients on the market.

According to Skin Deep, a report on cosmetics and body care ingredients by the Environmental Working Group, a founding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, many of OPI’s nail polishes and treatments contain formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), three of the top 10 ingredients of concern in the report.

The three ingredients also are identified by California’s Proposition 65—a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. In addition, both toluene and formaldehyde are listed by the U.S. National Toxicology Program as “reasonably anticipated” to be human carcinogens. In 2004, the European Union banned the use of DBP, a chemical linked to reproductive harm, from cosmetics, forcing OPI and other companies to remove DBP from nail products sold in 25 European countries. No such ban exists in the United States.

“While many companies have already removed DBP from their products worldwide, OPI nail products sold in the United States still contain DBP,” said Felicia Eaves, national organizer for Women’s Voices for the Earth, a founding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The Skin Deep report also rated the Los Angeles-based OPI as a brand of “higher concern,” scoring 5.0 on the report’s safety scale, with 0 being of lowest concern and 5 being the highest.

Activists say too that the health of salon workers who handle such products every day is at stake. “Repeated exposure to some of these chemicals, both to the skin and by inhalation, is hazardous,” said Lisa Archer, campaigns coordinator for Friends of the Earth’s U.S. Health and Environment Program. “Many women in beauty and nail salons work for long periods of time and often in poorly-ventilated spaces.”

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of U.S.-based health and environmental groups. To date, more than 300 cosmetics and personal care product manufacturers have signed the “Compact for the Global Production of Safe Health and Beauty Products,” a pledge to replace hazardous ingredients with safer alternatives.

# # #

Founding members of the Campaign include: Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Friends of the Earth, Women's Voices for the Earth, Environmental Working Group, National Black Environmental Justice Network and the National Environmental Trust. For more information and a link to the Skin Deep database, visit www.SafeCosmetics.org.