Methacrylate in nail polish is a potential hazard to cats

I believe that this type of nail polish is a *potential* hazard to cats. I doubt whether there are any studies on it or any scientific papers supporting what I am saying here but logic dictates to me that if women are putting gel nail polish on their nails which contains methacrylate, a toxic substance, it is possible in handling a cat that the substance can be transferred to a cat’s fur and then ingested by self-grooming. My instinct is to suggest that people who live with a cat should buy natural nail polishes.

The National Institute of Health tells me that “Allergies to dogs and cats affect 10%–20% of the population worldwide and is a growing public health concern as these rates increase”. It is not unreasonable to suggest that gel nail polish is another potential allergen for cats.

Methacrylate in gel nail polish is toxic and can harm humans. It may be a hazard to cats
Methacrylate in gel nail polish is toxic and can harm humans. It may be a hazard to cats. Image: MikeB at PoC.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

It is interesting to note that in 2018 a study was published about the dangers of methacrylate in cosmetic nail products because they cause allergic contact dermatitis. This was happening to dental personnel – “Allergic contact dermatitis caused by acrylates in nail cosmetic products: Case reports and review of the literatures”.

And today, in The Sunday Times there is a disturbing story about a beautician who was compelled to go to the A&E department of an NHS hospital because after years of using gel-based nail polish she noticed that her nails were lifting away and her fingers were itching.

Later on, she developed blisters on her hands. Her eyes and arms swelled up and she struggled to breathe. She called an ambulance.

Dermatologists are saying that there is an epidemic of these sorts of reactions to this sort of gel. The nail technician concerned, Kirsty Connor, is not alone as women are generally reporting brittleness, nail lifting and splitting as well as swollen fingers and infections after using this product.

Kirsty Connor stopped using gel nail polish. She had a collection of 300 acquired over 10 years. She now works with natural, non-toxic products. She said:

“The doctors at the hospital said it was quite a common problem. I had been using the big high street brands for years and I had never heard of it so I want to raise awareness.”

The bad reaction to methacrylate in gel nail polishes is acquired over time as is typical with dermatitis. Although the chemical can cause lifelong allergies.

Gel nail polish is hardened with ultraviolet light. If the equipment is poorly maintained or if the hardening process is not done for long enough the chemicals can enter the skin. Here then is a potential hazard to cats.

If the gel is not hardened properly, it may be transferred, it seems to me, to a cat’s fur on handling. We know that domestic cats are particularly vulnerable to poisoning because they are such fastidious self-groomers. Anything on their fur is likely to be transferred to their stomach.

Dr. Justin Hextall, a consultant dermatologist and fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, said:

“The problem is that artificial nails and gel manicures have become the norm. People think of these as basic requirements for grooming, like brushing your hair, when actually nails aren’t built to sustain this much trauma.”

Another expert, Dr. Deirdre Buckley, a consultant dermatologist in Bath, UK, said that she believes that there are thousands of women in the UK suffering with nail polish related allergies.

The Sunday Times reports that 3.5% of her dermatology patients have tested positive for an allergy to methacrylate. She confirms that the allergy is almost always due to gel polishes.

As I said, this is just a little warning of a potential hazard to domestic cats. There are many household and personal products which are built on chemicals which are either toxic to cats or potentially toxic to cats. We shouldn’t forget dogs either.

Click this link to see a series of articles on substances toxic to cats. It is a long list.

Phenol in household products is highly toxic to domestic cats

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) toxic to domestic cats

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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