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LI Families – Not So Healthy

Posted in Editorials on February 23rd, 2012

EDIT: The paragraph I objected to has been taken down. LI Families did not inform me directly, but when I shared this post on their message board another commenter pointed it out. Good work, LI Families!

On February 10, the website Long Island Families sent out an email and posted an article entitled “Mommy To Be Myths” debunking various old wives tales about pregnancy. I’m no expert, but most of it seemed to be sound and healthy advice that I had heard before. But the last one startled me.

Cut out your routine manicures/pedicures/hair appointments False. Although being in a very fume-filled environment is not the best for long periods of time for anyone, you will not harm your baby in any way by getting your routine mani/pedi. Scheduling your appointment for a quiet time at the salon will help cut out any fumes you may be exposed to.

I really object to the way this downplays the risks of the chemicals found in many nail polishes, nail polish removers, hair dyes and hair straighteners. It’s true that some brands of nail polish have become safer in recent years, but risks still remain in brands that haven’t changed and in many nail polish removers.

Additionally, the post mentioned nothing of the recent controversy about formaldehyde in a popular hair straightening treatment or the health risks of breast cancer and fibroids from hair care products frequently used by black women.

Finally, there was no mention that phthalates found in many common cosmetics pose a risk of hyperactivity once the child is born.

I know that pregnant women are bombarded with all kinds of pressure and unsolicited advice. But to simply hand wave away a legitimate concern is irresponsible. There are plenty of ways for a mother to be to relax without increasing the risk of harm to her or her baby.

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2 Responses to “LI Families – Not So Healthy”

  1. Sheri Says:

    Having read excessive amounts about this stuff recently, I totally agree with you. In fact, on a lot of baby websites, they say that occasionally is probably fine, but the jury is still out. But because I work in a lab, I get to read all the msds sheets for these chemicals, and being exposed to acrylic and formaldehyde on a regular basis is definitely not a good idea. If I used formaldehyde whether I was pregnant or not, it was under a fume hood so I never breathed the vapors, even for concentrations as low as 4%. It is a dangerous carcinogen, and it is present in hair straightening serums, at concentrations ranging from around 5-10% (http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/research/centers-institutes/croet/emerging-issues-and-alerts.cfm). Why take that risk? But honestly, I think the biggest issue is that hairdressers have no choice but to be exposed to these chemicals. Shouldn’t they be provided with the proper personal safety equipment?

  2. MissCherryPi Says:

    Hi Sheri! That is an excellent point that I did not mention. There are ongoing attempts to address this topic as a worker safety issue and it definitely is one. The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative is working on this.

    The other thing that bugs me, is why didn’t LI Families just say “Don’t use products with formaldehyde.” In the past few years many nail polish brands have removed it from their formulas, and it’s not to difficult to check it out, or bring your own polish. In the NY Metro area there are several salons that use all organic products, are paraben phthalate, or formaldehyde free! You don’t have to choose between no beauty treatments at all and getting cancer or putting your baby at risk!

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