18 Most Harmful Cosmetic Ingredients: Lets Talk About Toluene

I want to give information to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposure to harmful chemicals.  I need you to understand that if any of the ingredients I discuss with you have a low score of being an overall health hazard, it is still enough to know you do not want it in or on your body.  Many of these ingredients are only tested for a short time and not by testing it regularly and for many years.  Toxic absorption builds up over time and so does its ability to harm our body.   So adding a little on your skin today adds up over a week, a month, a year and longer.

A volatile petrochemical solvent and paint thinner. In cosmetics and personal care products, the use of toluene is limited to nail products.  It is a clear liquid that turns into a sweet- or sharp-smelling vapor when exposed to air. 

Toluene is a potent neurotoxicant that acts as an irritant, impairs breathing, and causes nausea. Mother’s exposure to toluene vapors during pregnancy may cause developmental damage in the fetus. In human epidemiological studies and in animal studies toluene has been also associated with toxicity to the immune system and a possible link to blood cancer such as malignant lymphoma.

Most nail salon customers are not exposed to excessive amounts of toluene. Nail salon workers may have a more significant exposure to the vapors, however. Adverse health effects include dry or cracked skin, headache, numbness, eye or throat irritation and, rarely, kidney or liver damage.

Health concerns of the ingredient overall hazard is high.  Other high concerns are; Contamination concerns, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Occupational hazards, Persistence and bioaccumulation; Other low concerns; Data gaps, Ecotoxicology.

Please check all your skincare products at home to see if they contain these ingredients.  Be wise, be safe.