What it means to be non-toxic
• We believe it is critical to be honest and open about our products and to educate nail product users about their options. Our line of products was developed with the goal of using ingredients that are not considered harmful to people, even with daily exposure, and that will degrade causing no harm to the land, sea, or air.
• We also believe we need to define the words we use. At Kapa Nui we use the words: “toxin –free,” “non-toxic,” “toxic,” “eco-friendly” even though they do not have universally accepted meanings.
• Toxin Free Nail Polish/Products: Lengthy exposure has not been shown to pose any harm to humans.
• Non-Toxic Nail Polish/Products: When used as directed and in the amounts in our products; not harmful to humans with daily “chronic exposure” (i.e. nail salon workers) to amounts used in the product.
• Toxic Nail Polish/Products: In amounts found in commercially available polish products; shown to be harmful to humans with chronic exposure.
• Eco-Friendly: The product ingredients, in their relative volumes, and their degraded elements, pose no harm to the environment (land, sea, or air).
• Discovery of the dangers of some traditional nail polish chemicals and subsequent publicity about them led to the widespread use of these terms. For the consumer, they really have no regulatory or even commonly accepted definitions. (see our “definition” above)
• When talking about harm and “toxicity” it is important to keep in mind the amount of a chemical ingredient, the amount of exposure to it, and what is considered “harm.” Many chemicals cause minor irritations, most commonly to the skin or eyes, if there is chronic (i.e.: 24 hours a day) or large-volume exposure (i.e.: hundreds of open gallons,) We do not consider these kinds of irritations as "toxic" or "harmful." We think most people would agree that when neurological or reproductive impairment has been shown to be caused by tiny amounts of a chemical in a polish product; that would be called "toxic" and "harmful.'
• Just about anything is “toxic,” or very harmful, in amounts too large for our bodies to process. Even water and oxygen can be life threatening in amounts that disrupt our metabolic balance. Also, many government publications frame toxicity in levels hundreds and thousands of times greater than what may be in a few drops of a nail polish product.
• Because some of the historically used chemicals in lacquer nail polish were found to be significantly harmful to people and the environment, manufacturers began removing them and then marketed their polishes as “__ Free.” Among major nail product manufacturers, there is no consistency as to which chemicals are claimed to be removed and some of the chemicals are not considered dangerous unless the user has allergies, such as soy, gluten and fat. By these definitions; Kapa Nui Nail Polish would be "All-Free".
• Some manufacturers have used a technique, called “regrettable substitution,” (abstract) in which a known harmful ingredient is removed and replaced with another in the same chemical family which may not have been well studied. If some chemicals are not replaced by similar chemicals in that family, then the product may not perform as the consumer expects.
• It is difficult to summarize the effects of chemicals in nail products, what follows is a short list of chemicals that are considered harmful to people or the environment:
TPHP triphenyl phosphate
ATBC acetyl tributyl citrate
Butyl and ethyl acetate
MEHQ/4 methoxy phenol
VOCs are “Volatile Organic Compounds,” or chemicals that evaporate easily in to the air at room temperature, spreading chemical particles. VOCs can be either man-made or exist naturally. Man-made VOCs are regulated because some have been found to contribute to ozone depletion, global warming, environmental pollution, and in certain amounts of exposure, harm to human health. A few states have considered regulation of VOCs that have demonstrated human or environmental harm that are in some lacquer nail polishes.
There are no standard definitions of “high” and “low” VOCs. We use the term “high” VOC to define VOCs that evaporate rapidly at room temperature and that have demonstrated human or environmental harm at levels of chronic exposure to a polish product.
• If you can smell a product across the room, it most likely has VOC chemicals in it. In traditional polish the most common group of VOCs are solvents.
• Nitrocellulose is a hard solid that is the basic building block of traditional lacquer nail polishes. It requires certain solvents to make it a liquid. The most common solvents are butyl and ethyl acetate. Multiple other additives are required to create flexibility, resistance to color fading, and adherence. Acetone in lacquer polish removers is also a strong solvent, but is exempt from the government regulation of VOCs.
As with “non-toxic,” “eco-friendly” has no regulatory definition. At KNN we use this term when a product’s ingredients pose no harm to the environment (land, sea, or air).
• The dangers of any product should be viewed in regards to “recommended use” and Kapa Nui products are no exception. Our products should not be ingested, they should be kept out of reach of children.
• Each and every one of our products is either toxin-free, non-toxic, no VOCs or low VOC.
• Our products are also eco-friendly in that they do not harm the environment. An example of a chemical in our products that we consider “eco-friendly” is acrylates copolymer, the base of our nail color coat. It is made from carbon, nitrogen and water. It degrades back into naturally occurring forms of these elements.
All of our products were created in collaboration with a highly experienced organic polymer chemist and are professionally manufactured. We meet all federal cosmetic regulations and aim to go beyond these in ensuring every aspect of our production is of the highest standards available. We are happy to answer any consumer questions.
• Kapa Nui Nails formulas do not contain any microplastics. We are all concerned about the pollution of our waters with primary microplastics. In the beauty industry some products contain abrasive agents that include minute hard plastic beads for their abrasive effect, these aremicroplastics. These microplastics cannot be filtered through wastewater systems and eventually find their way to our oceans.
• Unfortunately the naming of these particles is not clear in the media. Acrylates copolymer in some forms are hard solids and considered microplastics. In other forms, acrylates copolymers are liquid “emulsions” and are not considered microplastics. These emulsion forms occur in nature such as pectins, alginates and guar.
• The acrylates copolymer in our polish is a liquid emulsion and even after hardening, dissolves completely with prolonged water exposure.There is no polyethylene or styrene used in any step of formulation.