June 6, 1997 BOSTON -- Artificial nails are a growing, $265 million business in the United States. A study by researchers at Children's Hospital, Boston, and the Massachusetts Poison Control System, has demonstrated that the artificial-nail primers used to prepare the nail surface prior to application of an artificial nail present a significant hazard to young children and have been associated with severe injuries.
These primers are neither contained in child-resistant packaging, nor accompanied by any warning labels.
According to the study by Alan Woolf, M.D., M.P.H., associate in Medicine (General Pediatrics) and clinical director of the Massachusetts Poison Control System at Children's Hospital, Boston, and Judith Shaw, R.N., M.P.H., health educator at the Massachusetts Poison Control System, methacrylic acid, the active ingredient in the primer, has resulted in toxic exposures, including dermal, oral, and/or eye burns.
Over 750 methacrylic acid-containing nail primer exposures were reported to the nation's poison centers over the three years of the study.
Using data compiled by the American Association of Poison Control Centers and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Shaw and Woolf developed a hazard score calculated on the number of injuries as a fraction of total nail product exposures.
Compared to other household products, nail kits containing methacrylic acid are as hazardous to preschoolers as kerosene and ethanol-containing beverages.
Shaw and Woolf recommend the implementation of new product labeling and packaging regulations which recognize this hazard, as well as public education measures alerting consumers to the dangers of these nail primers.
Woolf presented the research last month at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Washington, DC.
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