In healthcare there is what we call “evidence based practice”. Which is basically where we look at peer reviewed, scientific research to determine what has been proven to be safest or provides the best patient outcomes.
As a RN and a Nurse Practitioner Student, I spend a large amount of my time researching evidence. So when I was learning about Jamberry Nails, and one of the first things that was pitched to me was that they are “non-toxic, vegan, and gluten free“. I thought “that is a great pitch but where is the evidence for that?”. So naturally, I did some research.
I will provide you the evidence that I found and let you decide for yourself if this is something that you consider non-toxic.
What Are Jamberry Nail Wraps Made Of And Are They Safe?
Jamberry Nail Wraps are made from silicone wrapped paper with a polyvinylchloride (PVC)-acrylic film adhesive. I touched on these materials in the article “What are Jamberry Nail Wraps?”. This article is meant to elaborate only on the materials and toxicity.
There has been a long standing debate on whether PVC should be considered toxic or not. Some people believe that because it is used for water systems, such as plumbing, as well as for medical supplies, such as IV tubing, that applying it to your nails is essentially harmless. Others feel that it should not be used at all.
I can tell you that wherever you fall on this spectrum, there is probably evidence to back you up if you simply ignore the other side. This is a great article that speaks on both sides of the PVC debate if you really want to get into depth. If you want a summary, here it is:
Against PVC Pro PVC
|The production of PVC is bad for the environment and the workers. Production of PVC was linked to a rare form of liver Cancer in the 1970s.||There has not been a single case of Cancer in PVC workers since the production was regulated by OSHA in the 1970’s and proper safety measures were implemented.|
|PVC contains carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) such as: VMC, dioxin and phthalates.||VMC is not emitted after the production, dioxin is only toxic when it is burned, and phthalates have only been proven to be toxic to rats-they haven’t shown to be toxic to humans.|
|PVC disposal in unsafe, it may release dioxin when it is incinerated.||It can only release dioxin if not incinerated properly. Many landfills are also now lined with PVC because it is durable and claims that it could leak toxins are not supported|
When searching for peer reviewed research on nail wraps, I can tell you that I found nothing that matched that exact criteria. I did however find some articles that expanded more on PVC and it’s use in the medical field.
Research on Ingredients in Jamberry Nail Wraps
Wilson and French, 1987, pg. 556 state the following, “Plasticized polyvinylchloride film has been used in this burns unit for a long time for dressings before the ward round, before surgery, and when the burned patient is transferred from the casualty department to the burns unit. Plasticized polyvinylchloride film is easy to use, safe, and causes no pain. Most importantly, in the present financial climate, it is cheap.”
Several other articles mentioned PVC film, in the form of saran wrap, as being safe and effective to use on burn patients. I can also tell you that in every ICU I have worked in that we have used forms of plastic wrap to cover dressings and central lines when we help patients bathe.
As Far as the Acrylic Portion of the Materials in Jamberry Nail Wraps…
Unfortunately I could not find much on that except that it is considered generally safe for cosmetic consumers. Those that work with it in large quantities, or are constantly inhaling fumes, are at risk for lung irritation. Contact dermatitis (irritation of the skin) was also possible with the powder form. None of which are applicable to the nail wrap. Here is a MSDS sheet for acrylic polymers. This is a statement from the MSDS, pg. 4:
-” Long-term exposure: This product has been used during many years without any evidence of adverse effects. According to different studies, there is no reason to think that Polymethyl Methacrylate represents a carcinogenic or mutagenic risk for people. Long-term exposures do not produce either toxic effects on embryos or foetus or teratogenic effects on pregnant mothers.”
There was a time in my life, shortly after I graduated nursing school, that I kept myself in a clean little bubble. I was so worried about getting sick working in hospitals that I bleached everything, washed my hands with antibacterial soap (big mistake), and didn’t touch or eat anything that might “harm” me. What happened? Well I got sick a lot more, probably because my immune system wasn’t building as many antibodies. Want to learn more about this? Click here.
At this point in my life, I don’t mind germs so much but I am very healthy. I eat organic as much as possible, exercise and do yoga, don’t use water bottles with PBA, don’t microwave plastic, try to eat raw foods, have just one glass of red wine several days a week, etc etc.
As far as my nails are concerned, I am not overly worried that Jamberry Nails are doing anything except make me happy. I use these on myself and my 8 year old step-daughter as well, she loves them. All of my co-workers also use them, and so do their kids.
However, if what you read scares you then you should not use them.
There are also some people that need to live in that bubble I was talking about. They might have weak immune systems for other reason and the only person that should judge what is right for them is them.
Make informed choices and do what is best for you. Also don’t just take my word on all of this, do your own research as well! Knowledge is power 🙂
Mother Earth News, 2010. Is PVC safe? The Vinyl debate. Retrieved from: http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/the-vinyl-debate.aspx#axzz38FzuJDm3
Wilson, G., & French, G. (1987). Plasticised polyvinylchloride temporary dressing for burns, 556–557.
Have any questions or comments? More facts to add? I’d love to hear all about your knowledge and opinions, please post below or send an email to info@NotNailPolish.com, thanks!