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Question from TA

Could you give your opinion about whether Piggy Paint nail polish is truly non-toxic?

Debra’s Answer

I’m correcting this post on 10 April 2016 after a reader pointed out an error I had made. Below is the corrected version.

At they say:

Piggy Paint is specially formulated from God’s natural ingredients and dries to a hard, durable finish. There are no toxic chemicals; it’s free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, Bisphenol A, ethyl acetate and acetone….Say good-bye to harsh, smelly chemicals and hello to Piggy Paint…it’s as Natural as Mud!

They also say it is nontoxic and safe for use during pregnancy, and that you can even paint the toes of babies.

Here’s the ingredient list on their website

Piggy Paint Ingredients Water, acrylates copolymers, melia azadirachta (neem oil). May contain: mica, red 34 lake, ultramarines, titanium dioxide, iron oxide pigments.

But I called them on the phone and they immediately emailed a different ingredient list to me (see below)

Now, toxic or not, I must take issue with their statement “It’s as Natural as Mud!” I don’t know how they are evaluating their ingredients to make this claim, but this nail polish is most definitely NOT natural!

Of the list below, the only natural ingredients are water, neem oil, mica, and copper. It’s full of plastics and coal tar colors.

Yes, it’s better than most nail polish, which contain formaldehyde, etc. But it’s not natural.

Is it toxic? Depends on your definition. Coal tar colors are not considered hazardous but have a long list of health effects associated with them. They were one of the first chemicals I eliminated when I wrote my very first book on toxics in consumer products in 1984.

The acrylate copolymer SDS says that it is not toxic and EWG’s Skin Deep says it’s hazard level is “low.” And The International Journal of Toxicology also reports that it can produce irritation, but little else.

I think the question here is where does one draw the line about what is hazardous? I won’t eat coal-tar colors because they cause cancer, so I would hardly call them safe or natural. But bound up in acrylate copolymer (itself made from crude oil) would they leach into your body? I don’t know.

For anyone sensitive to petrochemicals, this would not be a good choice. It’s not a product I feel 100% confident about recommending.

2014 Piggy Paint ingredient list

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