A recent research study has shown that many brands of nail polish contain a harmful chemical called triphenyl phosphate or TPHP, which has been identified as a potential endocrine disruptor, a substance that interferes with the normal functioning of hormones in our bodies.

In the past, TPHP, also known as TPP, has been shown to cause reproductive and developmental irregularities in research conducted with animals, but the new study was performed using human females who volunteered to have their urine tested before and after applying several common brands of polish to their nails.

The study found that levels of TPHP rose markedly in all the test subjects when checked approximately 10-14 hours after applying the polish.  This did not occur when the test subjects wore gloves during application, or applied the polish to artificial nails.

TPHP is also being investigated in other ongoing studies for its potential role in human endocrine disruption.  Some evidence is now suggesting that TPHP could be interacting in the body with a protein key to metabolism and production of fat cells.  In other words, TPHP could be contributing to weight gain and obesity.

Besides being in nail polish, TPHP is used in the manufacturing of many plastics, and as a fire retardant in foam furniture.  Research studies from many sources all over the world have found this chemical in nearly every subject who was tested.

We live in a world today where we are exposed to tens of thousands of chemicals on an ongoing basis throughout our lives.  The shocking fact is, and many are unaware of this, that the vast majority of these chemicals have never been tested for their effects on human beings.

I would like to urge you to become educated and involved about protecting yourself from the chemical assault that we face every day in our water, our air and with the products and materials we use.  Of particular concern is the type and number of beauty/grooming products, shampoos, and cosmetics that are used on a daily basis by both men and women, some of which contain a dozen or more toxic ingredients, which are readily absorbed through the skin or the scalp.  It is very important to take the time to do some research, read labels and select the least chemical-filled, least toxic products you can find.

A good place to start is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, where you can read up on thousands of beauty/grooming/hair products and find out what is really in each one, and then make a decision to choose a less toxic product.  Their website is ewg.org.

My patients, and those who attend my lectures, know that I am very passionate about the responsibility that each one of us must take to become educated and active about reducing the total toxic burden that we are exposed to living in today’s polluted and chemical-filled world.  It may seem overwhelming, but you can start today with a few simple steps:  buy more organic foods, find less toxic cleaning products, check out more natural and non-toxic beauty products and cosmetics, get a good air purifier for your home, and then go from there. Your body and overall health will thank you for it!


Dr. Allen gives free lectures at the Library three to four times each year, on topics of interest from the cutting edge of integrative medicine.  If you would like to be added to our mailing list for these lectures and his other speaking engagements, please email da@davidallenmd.com.